Vancouver is a thriving small city in Southwest Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Nearly 24,000 students are enrolled in Vancouver Public Schools (VPS), and thanks to a two-time voter-approved technology levy, all VPS students in third through 12th grades have access to individual iPads or laptops. We also have been able to extend this technology access beyond school walls: Wi-Fi networks are available on school buses, and a grant has covered the cost of hotspots for families who do not have internet at home.
All those tools produce a lot of data, which can be used to inform instruction and get teachers closer to personalizing education for every student. Because the tools don’t work together, however, valuable information often can’t be used to its full potential. State assessment data, student information system data and gradebooks don’t always match. If teachers had the ability to lay that data side-by-side in a uniform way, they could use that important information about a student’s achievement to make more informed decisions. Our solution lies in Data interoperability: the safe and secure transport of data between district systems.
While participating in the Digital Promise Assessment Data Interoperability Challenge Collaborative, we spoke with vendors and colleagues from other districts. Out of those conversations came a renewed sense of purpose for working on this challenge. After a year of bi-weekly meetings with teachers, principals and district administrators, we were able to successfully build an Operational Data Store with three integrated data sets.
Now that the foundation for data interoperability is laid, we plan to continue this work, engaging more vendors, creating visualizations and working with teachers on data literacy. For VPS, this initiative is about providing equitable opportunities for every student. This case study will dive into how our district took the necessary steps to provide teachers with a more effective, unified look at student achievement.