Data use and better schools in New Hampshire

I am in the middle of a longer article that is turning into my white whale and grinding the rest of my writing to a halt. The topic is how schools cannot possibly understand the flood of information that federal, state, and local officials throw at them. A better strategy might be to abandon the firehose approach and try to give schools much less information. Fewer indicators that indicate clear action steps directly tied to potential student gains have an opportunity to drive better student outcomes. Obviously, when the piece is done, I will link to it.

Of course, there are other things that policymakers can do to ensure that data helps children. The Data Quality Campaign does a great job highlighting data use best practices. Last week they ran a great piece that highlighted successful coaching strategies in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has only eight data coaches, each of which has a specialty that ensures even this small state has an expert in areas most critical to school improvement. The state also has a promising system for ensuring that critical insights aren’t lost when students change districts. 

There are tons of good nuggets in this story and most everything on DQC’s blog. I urge you to make it your second-favorite education blog.

Elizabeth Fuqua