What We’re Watching: Views from Jenn and Paige

What We’re Watching: Views from Jenn and Paige

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the Data Quality Campaign has worked to elevate what’s happening – whether it’s concrete examples of what’s working in states and districts, ideas and proposals from the field, or topics our organization and others are exploring. Each week, DQC President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger and Executive Vice President Paige Kowalski continue to provide their thoughts on the most salient conversations happening in education. The following blog posts show the evolution of their thinking throughout the pandemic.

Week of February 8, 2021 This week, Jenn and Paige discuss how recent federal developments reflect the need for more data on how students are doing during the pandemic, including data from summative assessments.

Week of February 1, 2021 From the city hall to the White House, leaders must make decisions based on data and evidence, and the public must have easy access to this information. Jenn and Paige discuss federal support for evidence-based policy, and how mayors are using data during the pandemic.

Week of January 25, 2021 In their first blog of the year, Jenn and Paige discuss how a new executive order on education has lasting implications for data use, the enduring challenges of measuring attendance during the pandemic, as well as a roundup of early bills in state legislatures.

Week of December 14 This week, Jenn and Paige discuss the value of assessments, the importance of postsecondary and workforce data, and why data matters for supporting military-connected students.

Week of December 7  As online learning continues, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. State policymakers need to step up with the technical assistance and infrastructure funding that districts need to address flaws in their security and prevent these kinds of attacks. Jenn and Paige also discuss ways the federal government can support state and local efforts to protect student and teacher data.

Week of November 23 This week, Jenn and Paige discuss the importance of linked data for identifying students’ needs in school and outside of the classroom. The work to connect these systems helps state agencies provide students 360-degree support as they move through their education journey.

Week of November 16 As schools and districts struggle with chronic absenteeism, it will be important for leaders to use data to understand the full scope of the problem. This week, Jenn and Paige highlight best practices for states as they help local leaders locate students and identify barriers to engaging in online learning.

Week of November 9 It was hard for us to concentrate on anything other than the election last week. And we know we’re not alone. So, instead of sharing our thoughts this week, we’re re-sharing our thoughts from some of our most recent blog posts. Because while the political landscape of this country is changing, the issues of dealing with the pandemic and using education data to make decisions for recovery remain.

Week of November 2 Policymakers must consider what attendance and engagement look like in the age of online learning. Leaders need information to understand who does not have access to the resources they need to learn each day. Jenn and Paige also discuss recommendations from student data privacy advocates to ensure that states and districts are meeting the current moment.

Week of October 26 From state education chiefs to parents, everyone needs real-time data to stay informed and make crucial decisions. State leaders need COVID-19 case data and information on reopening plays to guide their decisionmaking as they work to keep students and teachers safe. In addition to pandemic data, families and communities need report card information to understand how schools serve students. Jenn and Paige discuss the responsibility leaders at all levels have to make data available and actionable to those who need it.

Week of October 19  Jenn and Paige discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students in higher education. While attention is often focused on K–12 students who can’t connect to school online, a new report finds that over 100,000 students across California do not have access to the technology they need to attend their online courses. Leaders need data to understand the full extent of the problem, and to connect students with the resources they need.

Week of October 12 Paige and Jenn discuss the differing approaches states are taking when it comes to reporting COVID-19 case data in schools. States have a responsibility to share this information to help parents make informed decisions for their children.

Week of October 5 Jenn discusses the considerations schools and districts must take to meet privacy challenges as many students continue online learning. When student data privacy is protected, leaders enable families to feel they can trust the information they receive amid a constantly-changing landscape.

Week of September 28 Parents need to know that data on COVID cases in schools is accurate and timely. Schools, districts, and states, however, often have different reporting standards. Jenn and Paige discuss how standard definitions and reporting procedures can ensure that communities can trust the data, and that parents can have the information they need to make crucial decisions to protect their children.

Week of September 21 COVID-19 has delayed so many things, but schools and communities cannot afford to take a “data vacation”. This week, Jenn and Paige discuss a recent series from The 74 on assessments, and why they matter more than ever. They also discuss other work that can’t wait, including information on postsecondary outcomes and teacher diversity efforts.

Week of September 14 States vary in their methods for reporting instances of COVID-19 in schools. Jenn and Paige highlight states that are turning to data dashboards to share information with communities to build and maintain trust during this public health crisis.

Week of August 31 Transparency matters. As schools and districts make decisions about reporting positive COVID-19 cases, leaders must prioritize sharing timely, relevant and easy-to-understand data. This week, Jenn and Paige discuss why transparency is more crucial than ever.

Week of August 24 Jenn discusses the digital divide and importance of data as a tool for helping leaders understand the full range of barriers students face in accessing online learning.

Week of August 17 As we all try to understand our rapidly evolving education environment during the COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty that surrounds it, Jenn and Paige discuss steps states are taking to continue administering assessments, evidence-based decisionmaking, and the importance of student data privacy.

Week of August 10 This week, Paige discusses how three states are leveraging the power of their longitudinal data systems to address social services, including childcare and family nutrition. Additionally, she discusses assessments and the role they play in helping educators understand learning loss and how assessment data can help schools understand how to support students during recovery.

Week of August 3 Through its tracking of district reopening plans, the Center for Reinventing Public Education found that only about one-tenth of districts are planning to provide coaching/support to teachers in an online learning setting and just over one-third expect teachers to even provide feedback on student work. Jenn and Paige discuss why educators need support to improve online learning, and why their feedback will be crucial to supporting students.

Week of July 27 Texas announced it will allocate $118 million in federal funding to support higher education, including $93 million to help students continue or restart their progress toward a postsecondary degree or credential. Jenn and Paige discuss why state leaders must use the data they have to understand how many students may not return to higher education during this time and what they can do to help those students.

Week of July 20 As organizations track reopening plans and state guidance, it is clear that data is the key to recovery. Jenn and Paige discuss why data is necessary no matter what form school takes in the fall.

Week of July 13 Jenn discusses a new tracker from Johns Hopkins University that analyzes district reopening plans, as well as a new effort from Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform and Results for America to bring research to the people. The public has questions about so many facets of education in recovery—and projects like this are a step toward finding solutions.

Week of July 6 Jenn and Paige discuss a new tool from GreatSchools and Center for Reinventing Public Education that provides parents and communities information about remote learning, how instruction is delivered, and how leaders are addressing the digital divide.

Week of June 29 Jenn and Paige discuss the role social-emotional learning and personalized learning can play to meet students where they are this fall. Additionally, they discuss a new measure that Texas is using to understand the level of engagement students had during online learning.

Week of June 22 Jenn and Paige discuss why robust data and data linkages are necessary to address the large gaps that will exist within classrooms as schools return. They also discuss the importance of dashboards to display indicators—including nonacademic indicators—that will be critical for schools to understand and address in order to fully serve students.

Week of June 15 As new research shows how far students have fallen behind due to school closures, Jenn and Paige discuss the ways state leaders are beginning to step up and support districts with data as they make plans to assess learning loss and develop a path forward. Additionally, they discuss the value of assessments for the upcoming school year.

Week of June 8 Jenn and Paige address the relationship between COVID-19 and the ongoing systemic racism and oppression of the Black community, as well as the data needed to understand the full picture of the discrimination that Black students face in education.

Week of June 1 Jenn and Paige discuss a new poll that shows many teachers are hesitant to return to the classroom due to COVID-19, and how states can leverage data to make staffing decisions. They also discuss the importance of data systems, data linkages, and longitudinal data for understanding the full picture of student success and outcomes amid COVID-19 recovery.

Week of May 25 Jenn and Paige discuss new federal grants and the opportunities they provide to use data to locate and serve students.

Week of May 18 Jenn and Paige discuss legislation on state report cards for the 2020-2021 school year, comments from former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings on the value of measuring learning, as well as a Chiefs for Change report on school reopening.

Week of May 11 DQC received a lot of questions about the role of data for recovery. Jenn and Paige discuss data, including information on attendance and connectivity that DQC Board Members highlighted as important in a recent blog post.

Week of May 4 Jenn and Paige discuss the importance of investments in data systems and research for helping policymakers respond to the crisis, as well as how funds from federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act can be used enable this work.