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STATS-DC 2008 NCES Data Conference

Concurrent Session VII Presentations

Thursday, July 31, 2008

VII–A Benefiting from Data
Robin Taylor, Delaware Department of Education
    Delaware discussed how it utilizes longitudinal data for research; improving student achievement and instruction; and for data driven decision making. During this session, Delaware also shared detailed examples of the reporting systems the state uses at the school level to support data driven decisions.

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Sessions in LDS track:

VII–B "Where Oh Where Did My Students Go…Oh Where Oh Where Could They Be?" Considerations for Calculating Graduation and Dropout Rates
Meredith Babcock, Michelle Magyar, and Karl Scheff
California Department of Education
    Following the first year of data collection on student-level enrollment and exit data, the California Department of Education (CDE) is now faced with many challenges that directly impact the calculation of graduation and dropout rates. This session included an overview on these issues (e.g., lost-transfers, re-enrolled dropouts, summer dropouts/no shows, on-time graduation, adult/alternative education) and reviewed the findings from the CDE's exploratory research efforts that investigated graduation and dropout policy and procedures from other SEAs. Presenters also initiated a discussion that furthered our understanding of the difficulty of calculating these rates at the state and local levels, and they proposed possible solutions that may inform policy decision making.

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Sessions in Statewide LDS track:

VII–C EDFacts, K-12 Models, and SIF
Ross Santy, U. S. Department of Education, EDFacts
Laurie Collins, School Interoperability Framework Association
    Over the past two years, the data model for federal collection of K-12 performance and enrollment data has stabilized with the EDFacts data collection. Over the same time period, NCES has led the development of a comprehensive K-12 data model which organizes and catalogs all the information maintained by schools and districts in the course of conducting their daily business. This session provided a brief overview of these data models, and it shared updates on work being done to utilize the schema of the Schools Interoperability Framework Association to connect the two models to ensure more efficient aggregation and collection in the years to come.

Sessions in EDEN/EDFacts track:

VII–D Reporting the On-Time Graduation Rate to ED
Zollie Stevenson, Patrick Rooney, and Chris Chapman, U.S. Department of Education
    The U.S. Department of Education has defined a standard on-time high school graduation rate for its reports from states. This session discussed the components of the rate, with a focus on the collection and reporting requirements that state and district data managers will address. The session also gave an overview of the averaged freshman graduation rate (AFGR) that states may use as an interim estimate while they develop the data needed for the on-time rate.

Sessions in Federal track:

VII–E Which Data for What Purpose and When? A Cycle That Works for Improving Instruction
Diana Nunnaley, TERC
Ellen Mandinach, CNA
    "One consequence of the standards and accountability movement is that district and school administrators are being asked to think very differently about educational decision making and the use data to inform everything from resource allocation to instructional practice" (Mandinach & Honey, 2008). Better data systems and data tools are an intended consequence of the shift in emphasis. And at many levels of educational purpose, the systems and the tools are informing the planning process as they capture impact of activities. At the classroom level, however, data can still be viewed as punitive and irrelevant to the day-to-day process of deciding what and how to teach. This session explored the kinds of relevant data and processes that enable teachers to change practice and content focus in the classroom.
VII–F Approaches to Implementing the Two Percent Cap for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
Nancy Stevens and Li-Chin Wu, Texas Education Agency
    In 2008, two new state alternate assessments for students with disabilities were administered in Texas. The Texas Education Agency evaluated different approaches to implementing U.S. Department of Education rules regarding use of proficient results from alternate assessments in Adequate Yearly Progress. This session looked at advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches in relation to statutory compliance, promoting instructional improvement, equity, potential unintended consequences, and data processing resources. The calculations to be used for Texas AYP were described.
VII–G WISE and WISER, How Wyoming Is Moving Forward With Interoperability
Shadd Schutte, Wyoming Department of Education
    You may have heard about the various projects that Wyoming is working on as we strive to achieve total interoperability with our State Report Collection, Student State ID number assignment and Wyoming Transcript Center. In this session we showed how all of these projects are combining to create an interoperable system that strives to ease reporting burdens for the LEAs, enhance data quality and serve us not only today but also into the future.

Sessions in SIF track:

VII–H Becoming a Data-Based Decision Making District
Jim Johnson, Iron County School District (Utah)
    To achieve its promise, data-based decision making requires that 1) data be of high quality and readily accessible in real time to those who need it to make effective instructional decisions, and 2) that teachers and principals be trained on how to use data to improve learning and teaching. Iron County School District (Utah) is in the second full year of implementing a data-based decision making approach. Key components include a student achievement management system which provides the ability to gather information about individual students from multiple data sources and present that information to teachers and principals and the development of data teams within each school. In addition, the management system creates digital student packets or digital cumulative folders for each student. Superintendent Johnson demonstrated the depth of information within the system, the quickness with which the data are retrieved and compiled, and the clarity in how it is presented on the screen. All this was done using live data and interacting over the internet with the Iron County School System in Cedar City, Utah.
VII–I Building an Online Unified Data Dictionary
Neal Gibson and Carmen Jordan, Arkansas Department of Education
Dennis Cribben, Metis Associates
    The Arkansas Department of Education is building a data dictionary that will unify the descriptions, business rules, and data stewardship for all data elements from its source and reporting systems and includes the same information cross-reference to EDFacts, NCES Handbooks Online, and SIF. This project uses the participatory nature of Web 2.0 to distribute the workload online. The dictionary illuminates hidden details about data collection and illustrates how unit-level source data becomes aggregated data for reports. This presentation showed why the dictionary is central to ADE's data quality initiatives, demonstrated the system and work done to date, and explained how it was created.

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