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What Data Matters in PK-12 Education

Schools collect and use data every day about their students, staff, and programs.  We often think about student achievement results, but schools also have data about student enrollment, attendance, course taking, course grades, behaviors, and other items. 

A number of different ways that educators use data.

Merely having data doesn’t improve outcomes for students.  However, when people use that data to monitor students’ status, set targets for improvements, and monitor programs over time it is a recipe for success. In other words, in order to reach our goals as an organization, we need data to make informed decisions.

The model to the right provides an overview of a PK-12 system aligned for continuous improvement with the vision and mission acting as the foundations for establishing goals and building structures that guide staff members strategies and actions to improve results. In other words, in order to reach our goals as an organization, we need data to make good decisions. Data metrics and targets connect the vision and mission to the outcomes when programs are monitored and results are regularly shared.

Improvement, or continuous improvement, may seem like a simple process, but there is actually a science to improvement. Visit the Carnegie Foundation to learn more about Improvement Science.

The next sections of this module will discuss various components of the PK-12 data system in California with a focus mostly on student data, but also examples of how data can be used to measure and improve parent/family engagement.

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