One criticism of Longitudinal Data Systems is that they are in place in some areas, but nobody knows how to use them. How would you solve this problem? How would you describe the cause of LDS ineffectiveness, even though they are so important to school reform?
This is a challenge for many school systems. It was assumed that once data was provided in an LDS, that it would be used and it would change the face of education. This is a false assumption. A culture of data use must be developed inside of a school system in order for the LDS to be used effectively. This is done through deliberate team development, specific learning objectives, solid data access and analysis, and time committed to this work. It is my belief that the effective use of professional learning communities is our best hope to using these LDS systems well. These PLC’s must be well designed, high functioning, and have a laser like focus. The also must be supported by good data systems. These are the areas that we are focusing on in LWSD.
How would dramatic changes in how we use data in schools change the model of education in this country? Can you give some examples?
Dramatic changes in the use of data would result in a better understanding of what we can solve, and what we still need to learn as it relates to student learning. We would see better grouping and regrouping of students, more effective use of personnel and resources. We would see specialization on some cases, and more generalization in others. I would hope that we would see the more effective integration of content, significant changes in teaching practice, and more specific interventions for all students. Ultimately we would see significant increases in student achievement.