Prior to joining the ADICC, VPS worked with a vendor who promised to create a one-stop shop for teachers that would integrate information about standards, achievement and needs. We later discovered that a comprehensive solution didn’t actually exist.
One of the biggest obstacles is that many third party vendors haven’t adopted shared data standards, yet. Even if a company were able to create a dashboard, it wouldn’t be able to pull in data from all the different tools used by teachers and districts.
After becoming part of ADICC and attending the Ed-Fi Data Bootcamp, we recognized the need to clarify the complex digital landscape. We also realized that solving the challenge of assessment data interoperability currently requires a lot more effort than just buying a product. The opportunity to learn from other districts also doing the work has been invaluable.
1. Be wary of any vendor that promises a comprehensive dashboard.
2. Find your network: look for others doing this work so you can ask critical questions together.
3. Go for it! Don’t just hope that a solution will eventually will be created. Work toward making it happen.
4. Encourage others to adopt the Ed-Fi Data Standard.
We learned that it is vital to ensure common understanding and a sense of purpose on our team. We met regularly with our experts on students (teachers and principals) as well as the people in our district who had the authority to move this initiative forward.
When meeting with these groups, we stayed focused through structured conversations. One example was using Digital Promise’s “Superhero Solution Sketch Template.” This comic strip exercise helped us facilitate the articulation of the problem and potential solutions with teachers, school-based administrators, and district administrators.
1. Meet regularly with the end user of your products:teachers and principals.
2. Structure your meetings to ensure a shared sense of purpose. Try using imagery and narrative.
3. Start small and grow these stakeholder groups over time.
One of the biggest achievements of this school year was getting our ODS up and running with three integrated sources of data. We worked with an external technology partner to help with the initial implementation.
We learned quickly that it was important to choose data that already was supported by technology. We wanted to bring in some gradebook data, for example, but discovered that most teachers were keeping it on paper rather than using digital tools. Without a complete set of data, we weren’t able to build a cohesive picture of learning at the classroom or school level. For future integrations, we plan to focus our efforts on technology-supported data sets.
1. This process takes time, so keep plugging away and recognize the small wins!
2. If you don’t have the capacity to build some of these solutions in house, seek outside expertise. We were able to get support from an external technology partner for our initial ODS implementation.
3. Choose a target that is supported by technology.