Access, Communications, State Advocacy

Statewide Data Conferences: Making Data Work for Students

Statewide Data Conferences: Making Data Work for Students

Making data work for students requires that data be useful, usable, and ultimately used to support student success. Understanding this, some states hold statewide data conferences to communicate and build relationships with those working most closely with education data. These conferences provide an opportunity to talk about using data to uncover best practices, inform decisionmaking, and take action to improve student outcomes.

We know that starting something new is hard, so we interviewed some of the states with experience hosting state data conferences – Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – for their advice. What came out of this is a checklist for state education leaders, “Build a Culture of Data Use: Host a State Data Conference.

Our new checklist provides guidance from those who have pulled off state data conferences, and includes questions to consider as states think about hosting these worthwhile events. The checklist encourages states to:

  1. Create a shared vision and identify outcomes for the conference;
  2. Identify target audiences that will shape outreach and what the conference will look like;
  3. Plan in advance to account for logistical challenges; and
  4. Engage and communicate with attendees.

We encourage you to take a look at the checklist, including the spotlight on Kentucky’s two types of data conferences, and think about how this might work in your state – including what questions you’d need to answer before getting started.

Want to learn more about how states have leveraged data conferences to engage stakeholders? Check out this resource from the US Department of Education’s State Support Team.


This blog post is also available as a story on Medium