6 ways data, report cards can aid schools’ COVID recovery

Data Quality Campaign is releasing a series of short- and long-strategies for K-12 leaders
By: | July 22, 2020
The right data and research can guide K-12 leaders as they make spending decisions during the COVID recession and recovery. (GettyImages/Flavio Coelho)The right data and research can guide K-12 leaders as they make spending decisions during the COVID recession and recovery. (GettyImages/Flavio Coelho)

Tracking data on the successes and failures of online learning will let educators make quick improvements as schools and students adapt to greater levels of remote instruction.

The Data Quality Campaign is releasing a series of resources for K-12 leaders as they develop short- and long-strategies for the COVID recovery.

“State and district leaders need information to shine a light on how students and teachers are doing during online learning and to identify what is and isn’t working,” said Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. “Leaders already have data and can start on these efforts to improve transparency through report cards and research today, as they continue to plan for their paths forward.”

Diving into the data

The organization has released two resources, “Using Data to Understand What Works: Research and the COVID-19 Crisis” and “Promoting Transparency and Maintaining Public Trust: Report Cards and the COVID-19 Crisis.”

More from DA: 6 steps for boosting student engagement in online learning

The first report stresses the importance of K-12 leaders having data and research to guide spending decisions as state and district budgets feel the pinch of the COVID recession. This report calls on state leaders to:

  1. Prioritize investing in their data systems to quickly gather information from the communities they serve
  2. Mobilize research partnerships to answer more complex questions.
  3. Adapt the state’s existing research system or invest in new tools that identify best practices in the current education landscape.
  4. Begin the long-term, multistep process of building effective research infrastructure.

These data and research strategies will also help district leaders communicate their decisions to parents and the public, Bell-Ellwanger said.

Report cards and COVID disruptions

The second report urges state leaders to release this school year’s district report cards, despite the COVID disruptions.

More from DA: How Washoe County is using data to provide student supports during closures

The campaign says report cards remain the “most direct and transparent” way to answer questions about education systems as they embark on the road to recovery.

This batch of report cards should provide a higher level of context to help educators and the public understand the adjustments districts were forced to make when all instruction moved online.

State leaders must also make it clear to parents and the public how the report cards will be used to inform decisionmaking in the months ahead, the Data Quality Campaign says.

DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.

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