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Sharing, Presenting, and Using Data

Sharing data is an important tool for improvement efforts.  It is important to be authentic and transparent when sharing PK-12 results whether the results are considered good or not because hiding bad results erodes trust and also inhibits improvement. It is also helpful to share the results on a regular and predictable basis so various educational partners can trust the data reporting process.  

Although the State of California does not require how most data are shared throughout the year, it may be helpful to establish an annual calendar of data reporting to the Board, parents/families, staff, and community. For example:

  • Data could be shared directly with staff through the student information system 
  • Parents/families could receive updates through the SIS parent portal or similar tool
  • Data can be organized into tables and charts to give teachers and site leaders the ability to analyze the data for patterns and trends.  
  • Data could be presented at Board meetings
  • Data can be posted online or through social media
  • Share the most relevant data that highlights strengths and areas of growth
  • Determine a way to connect quantitative and qualitative data to contextualize a story

Along with the different venues for sharing data, there are also different formats for sharing data.  A common way for sharing data is in tables and graphs, but it is important to think beyond those formats and consider preparing written reports, posters, infographics, social media posts, slide shows, email messages and other formats.

Infographics are a great way to tell a story with data and they can be prepared as a report, slideshow, social media post, or in other formats.  For example:

Summarizes Large Amounts of Data

The Human Brain is Good at Processing Visual Information

Quick & Easy to Digest

People with Data are Compelled to Analyze Data to Sythesize a Story

Sharing data does not need to be complex.  The goal should be to share a story that is easy to follow so the audience can follow along and understand the information.  Although there are no standards for preparing data reports to school communities, here are some suggestions to make your reports accessible to a wide range of audiences

Consider the timing of data reports throughout the school year to inform important decisions such as scheduling students in classes, hiring staff, engaging parents/families, or making budget decisions. 

In summary, when sharing data consider 1) the audience, 2) the purpose of the information, and 3) the format for the presentation of the data.

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