Family Network on Disabilities

INformation Hub

Priority | Using Data to Advance School Reform

Priority | Using Data to Advance School Reform

August 2014 | Links updated, March 2019

The Parent Center network has a common list of 14 priority topics we are expected to address. The list comes to us from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education.

Welcome to the Hub page that focuses on the priority topic of using data to advance school reform efforts. Items marked with ** are designed to be parent-friendly.

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Data Being Collected

Being able to find education data and use it to support improvements in student learning, school climate, and outcomes for students with disabilities are becoming increasingly important, especially given RDA activities and the writing of the SSIP (State Systemic Improvement Plan). Might these resources help?

Common Core of Data.
The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a program of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that annually collects data about all public schools, public school districts, and state education agencies in the United States. Resources at NCES that you may find useful include:

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Your  State’s Data

State School Accountability “Report Card” Database.
A service of the Education Commission of the States, this database documents the metrics used by States to measure school performance (what gets measured), the information and metrics schools must report to the public on their report cards (what gets reported), and the type of system used to rate the schools. Pick your state and you’ll be able to connect with:

  • your state’s report card
  • where, on your SEA’s website, you can find the education data that are publicly reported.

The data your State reported to OSEP.
OSEP is no slouch when it comes to collecting data about States’ efforts to educate children with disabilities. Part B and Part C data are analyzed collectively, yes, but OSEP also reports these data State by State. Visit the Education’s Department’s page on data, and look up what data your state reported to OSEP about children served under Part B and Part C of IDEA.

So how’s your State doing?  
This resource page from the U.S. Department of Education provides a record of its annual letters to states of determination of progress toward implementation of IDEA, including educational outcomes for students with disabilities, determination letters for each state’s performance under both Part C (early childhood) and Part B (school age), and more.

More data on your State’s special education system.
From the Education Commission of the States, this site provides you with statistics regarding special education services in the states; recent state legislation affecting state special education programs; information on teacher supply and training issues, finance, and successful student transition approaches; and research on methods of identifying, funding programs for, and providing instruction to special-needs students.

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Understanding and Using Data

Embracing the use of data for continuous program improvement.
Harvard Family Research Project’s Heidi Rosenberg discusses how continuous improvement processes can strengthen family engagement strategies, and outlines the mindset and key practices that organizations need to adopt in order to use data to understand and improve upon their work.

Building stakeholder knowledge about data.
Data play a role in virtually every aspect of administering early intervention programs (IDEA Part C) and preschool programs (Part B 619). State lead agency staff partner with stakeholders for a variety of purposes, including collaborating to improve programs and preparing annual reports on how programs are implemented. This toolkit from the DaSy Center orients stakeholders to IDEA data and other data-related topics to help them meaningfully participate in conversations about important programmatic issues and decisions.

Holding schools accountable: Using data to engage parents in school improvement efforts.
Nita Rudy is a Program Director for the Mississippi Schoolhouse to Statehouse program developed by Parents for Public Schools (PPS), a national organization supporting community-based groups that work with parents to improve public schools. In this Voices from the Field, Nita shares her experience using data to engage families around school improvement efforts.

Family engagement and children with disabilities: A resource guide for educators and parents.
This resource guide has been compiled to help parents and special educators establish a comfortable and effective partnership in service of promoting successful outcomes for children with disabilities. Highlighted are research reports, journal articles, examples of best practices, and tools that suggest methods for developing productive collaborations so that educators and families can, together, ensure better services for children in their care.

Protocols | Learning to talk about and use data.
The School Reform Initiative, SRI, is an excellent source of guidance for building your system’s capacity to talk about and use data to improve schools and student achievement. The protocols (which set forth a guided process for exploration and discussion) can help your team or system: investigate teaching, learning, and assessment; examine data and data sets; focus on students; and much more. Many protocols are available in SpanishPortuguese, and for Youth Engagement as well.

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Resources in Other Languages

Analizar información.
Aprender a analizar información es una herramienta para guiar a los educadores en el descubrimiento de qué comprenden y cómo razonan los estudiantes, los educadores y el público en general. Este herramiento le da un formato estructurado de diálogo que libera al grupo y lo ayuda a poner su atención en lo que es más importante.

Have a resource you’d like to recommend?
It’s hard to find information in other languages about how to use data to advance school reform efforts. If you know of a resource that’d be helpful to other Parent Centers and the families they serve, please share the news with Lisa Küpper, product development coordinator, at the CPIR: Thanks!

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Don’t Forget to Search the Hub!!

Since this Priority Page was originally created, we’ve added additional “Use of Data” resources to the Hub library. These are easy to find! Just use the link below:

There’s a SORT BY drop-down menu above the resources that will be listed. Set the drop-down to “Date (Newest).” And there you’ll have the latest resources tagged “Use of Data.”

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SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information and Resources