At Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee, there’s a major push to use data analytics to help teachers, administrators and parents improve student performance.
The district developed a data warehouse that — when used in tandem with standard Microsoft reporting tools — gives teachers and staff detailed information about student attendance, behavior and academic performance, including scores on statewide assessment tests. Data shows individual student trends as well as classroom, school and districtwide trends, says Laura Hansen, the district’s director of information management and decision support.
“I was brought in about four years ago to help create a culture of data-informed decision-making in our organization,” she says. “By making data available in useful ways, such as creating dashboards for teachers to use in conversations with parents, students and other teachers, transparency is created, and improvement can happen.”
Since standing up the data warehouse, the district has reported improvement in test scores and an increase in graduation rates.
Margie Johnson, business intelligence coordinator for Metro Nashville PS, says the “goal is to get the entire school community involved so we can improve student performance.”
Best practices include:
- Intervention team meetings to provide planning time for teachers and support staff to discuss student data;
- Student data chats, which allow students to discuss their data with teachers and principals before developing action plans;
- Parent data chats, evening events during which parents learn how to interpret their children’s data and how they can help at home;
- Data sharing with after-school providers, which helps these organizations become full partners in every student’s success.