Using school data for program planning and improvement
Schools collect a great deal of information on the students they serve. Many schools are willing to share this data with CBO partners provided there are legal safeguards in place.
Why Use Academic Data?
For programs that work with students on academic skills, data on academic performance can be important for progress monitoring and evaluation. In general, academic data can be obtained in one of several ways: through self-report, through communication with teachers, or through a data sharing arrangement that allows providers to access official student records. While the latter method provides more reliable information, it can be complicated by legal and administrative issues. When deciding whether and how to access academic data, consider which specific data will be useful to your program, how you will use it, and when you will need it.
How can Academic Data Inform Program Practice?
There are two major ways that academic data can inform program practice:
- Operational: Information about student progress can be used to make adjustments to how an individual student is served. In order for data to be useful for operational purposes, it needs to be clearly actionable and readily accessible in real time (or close to real time).
- Programmatic/Evaluative: Academic data can be useful on a periodic basis for assessing progress toward program goals, and making changes to program design in order to maximize effectiveness. In this case, it may not be necessary to have access to individually identified data, or to data that is real time.