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Stat of the Week — Aug. 3, 2006

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Giving Data to Teachers

Technology Counts 2006 reveals that states are ratcheting up policy efforts to put data on schools and students into the hands of educators but that a lot of work remains to be done. Two-thirds of states currently provide educators with access to an interactive school-level database for analysis. Of those states, 20 offer the capability to compare similar schools within their interactive database.

State efforts to provide educators with access to student-level data are also evident but are slightly less common than efforts related to school-level data. Just over half of all states currently allow educators to access state assessment results through a centralized information system, while less than half give educators information on student demographics and program participation.

Those databases are often available to both educators and the general public through the state education agency's web site. Thirty-six states currently provide educators more data or analysis tools than are available to parents and the public, such as data on individual student achievement that can be tied to classroom instruction. For example, 29 states allow educators to access individual state assessment results through a centralized system.

Making Data Usable

This recent boom in data collection by state education agencies highlights the importance of providing educators with guidance in using data effectively and translating data into improved instruction in the classroom.

Technology Counts 2006 tracked four types of resources that states can provide to aid teachers in analyzing and using data: downloadable data files, templates for data analysis or graphing, guides for data analysis or interpretation, and training in the use of data for instruction.

Seventeen states provide educators with access to all of these resources, while five states fall behind, offering none of the resources tracked by the EPE Research Center. Fifteen states offer teachers only one resource, typically downloadable data files.

Data files were the most common resource among states, with 45 states providing some type of downloadable data to educators. Just over half the states offer guides and training to help educators analyze and interpret data. Templates were the least common type of resource, with 21 states using templates to help educators utilize data.

To find out more about school technology in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, access the Education Counts database.

Copyright 2006 Education Week (http://www.edweek.org)

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