When it comes to following the topic of education data, varied stakeholders can hold special interest in specific sub-topics. I have organized a few recent, noteworthy resources by each common-interest category. These include: data collection & sources (for anyone collecting data or designing related instruments such as assessments), data reporting (for anyone communicating data), data privacy and Common Core Statements Standards (for anyone collecting, reporting, or using data), and data use (for educators using data).
Data Collection & Sources
- The Institute for Education Sciences (IES) carefully reviews research in all of the areas listed here and more; the National Education Data Model is an example of this, which promotes specific types of data that should be collected.
- The Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education covers many topic areas and with Linda Darling-Hammond put out Criteria for High-Quality Assessment within the past year.
- RAND puts out reports with a wealth of information, like New Assessments, Better Instruction? Designing Assessment Systems to Promote Instructional Improvement.
- I was very impressed by Edward Tufte’s course in communicating education data, although it relates to data in any field rather than education data; he has many courses running now through April.
- Like Tufte, Stephen Few is also an expert when it comes to communicating many types of data; his 2014 workshops begin this month.
- Great data reporting is about understanding more than just good data visualization. Hack Design is a free course for which you can sign up to receive weekly, emailed lessons covering a wealth of other important design concepts. Thanks go to Zach Rankin for introducing me to this wonderful resource.
- The Data Quality Campaign puts out great resources on an ongoing basis, including this Cheat Sheet: Data Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality.
- U.S. Department of Education’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) published this guide last month: Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices.
- U.S. Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) is a direct resource for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) guidelines.
Common Core State Standards
- The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative is a direct source for CCSS information, but most states belong to one of the following 2 consortia, which offer more personalized updates and tools:
- For states in Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers (PARCC), new resources and updates are posted regularly. For example, new sample questions and test features were released last month.
- For states not in PARCC, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) puts out a new issue of its newsletter, In the News, every 2 months.
- WestEd’s Data for Decisions lists links to related research (including my own study, added 1&1/2 months ago), and there are also links to tools such as training materials.
- The NMC Horizon Report for Higher Education for 2014 came out last month and includes the topics of learning analytics and data-informed learning.
- Dr. Jeff Wayman is one of our generation’s leading experts in district’s use of data. His Twitter site can keep you updated on news and resources related to data use, as they are released.
Combined with the resources at www.overthecounterdata.com, the sources listed above can help in varied endeavors related to making the most of education data. While many people have a special interest in just one of these topics, and there is no problem with specializing, stakeholders should still remain updated on all key topics that are important (and interconnected) to effective data-related practices.