How Smarter Data Can Save U.S. Education
One reason No Child Left Behind is all but a failed initiative, is that one of its main metrics, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), is a horrendous measure of educational progress. With AYP, each state sets its own goals and assesses progress with its own metric. If one state meets AYP and another one does not, it’s impossible to make a comparison. NCLB relied on data for improvement, but that data was so unscientific that it hardly had a chance at success.
But, as a report from the Data Quality Campaign concludes, we may be on the verge of meaningful, data-backed reforms. Many states and school districts now have the capability to track individual students longitudinally, which means educators can compile electronic data of a student’s yearly progress. In the aggregate, this information is invaluable as it pinpoints, rather than guesses at, the crucial milestones that mark the path toward higher-ed or career success.