How state education agencies in the Northeast and Islands Region support data-driven decision making in districts and schools

Matthew Walsh

The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance
May 2009

While there have been many studies describing how to collect and manage data, the education sector has largely ignored the difficult issue of gathering and storing data in such a way that it is available in a centralized manner. This analysis finds that the Northeast and Islands region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the Virgin Islands) manages its data in four ways: 1) centralizing information into one data system or warehouse, 2) developing tools for further data analysis and reporting, 3) training educators on the data system or warehouse, and 4) continuing to educate professionals concerning the collected information. However, these states have encountered limits to collecting data, namely, lack of staff, expertise, and funding. The lack of staff and expertise is side-stepped by using vendors who assemble and maintain the data as well as instruct educators on how to use the data. While costly, all the states and the Virgin Islands hired outside vendors, a number of which were partially funded by federal grants. The analysis allows education leaders in Ohio to take a more in-depth look at its teacher-student data and see how other states handle the task. For the report, see here.

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