Chris Woolard Recognized as State Data Leader Promoting Data Use to Improve Student Learning and Achievement


Contact: Dakarai Aarons,, 202-997-6519

Chris Woolard Recognized as State Data Leader Promoting Data Use to Improve Student Learning and Achievement

WASHINGTON—March 27, 2014—Chris Woolard, director of accountability of the Ohio Department of Education, was today named the winner of the Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) 2014 State Data Leader Award for his work to ensure that Ohio educators have easy access to timely, relevant student data as well as training in how to appropriately and meaningfully use those data to improve results for students.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Chris Woolard’s work at the state level to ensure all Ohio educators have access to the data they need and the tools to analyze and use this information to help students achieve,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign.

Teachers need longitudinal, student-level data, such as attendance history, course-taking patterns, grades, and test scores, to tailor instruction to individual students’ strengths and weaknesses. They need these data to collaborate with other teachers and support staff to align and improve their instructional strategies. Reviewing student data over time helps teachers ensure that students stay on track to graduate ready for college and careers.

Ohio has become a leader in the nation in providing educators access to data, due in large part to Woolard’s focus on quality implementation of data systems and constant communication for continuous improvement. His peers across the country look to him for guidance on how to create data tools that meet the needs of educators. Woolard and his team at the Ohio Department of Education have provided teachers with data tools in the form of dashboards that allow teachers to view student performance data, growth data, and more. These data help teachers identify students that may need additional resources—to better meet the unique needs of every student.

Not satisfied with simply providing access to data, Woolard has also worked tirelessly to ensure that teachers have the knowledge, skills, and time to use those data to support student success. Through a partnership with Battelle for Kids, educators in Ohio now have training in how to access the data systems that will give them the information they need to inform their instruction.

In addition to his tremendous work supporting teacher access to student data and educator data literacy, Woolard was also instrumental in developing the state’s new report card, providing parents and the public with aggregate-level information about Ohio schools and districts. Woolard’s work to get critical information to teachers, parents, and the public provides a model for states across the country.

“If it’s just a data report that is interesting to look at one time and then it goes in the binder and goes on the shelf, you’re probably not making very much of a difference. What you really want to do is get data in people’s hands to help them improve. That is just a key focus across the board for us right now,” said Woolard, noting that while there are a lot of changes happening in Ohio right now, his team is dedicated to “having teachers engaged in the process of owning the data.”

DQC’s Recognition Program awards policymakers, district leaders, and advocates who have demonstrated a focus on using education data to support families and educators in their efforts to improve student achievement in four categories.

Chris Woolard sat down with DQC’s Jessica Lyons to talk about the efforts in Ohio. Listen to their conversation here: