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Effective (Easy-to-Use) Reports for Educators and Parents

According to the AASA report Using Data to Improve Schools, “Data provide quantifiable proof, taking the emotion and rancor out of what can be tough calls for superintendents and school boards (e.g., dismantling a popular but ineffective program or closing a school). Data also provide the substance for meaningful, ongoing dialogue within the educational community.” Data reports are, by design and intent, meant to objectively communicate information that is to be interpreted, understood, and lead to a plan of action. Creating an evidence-based or data-driven decision-making culture means that anyone of any background can look at a data report and draw similar conclusions to others. This common-lens approach helps to create a shared language of action and understanding, and through this shared language meaningful and sustainable education reforms can take place. Recognizing that data is both quantitative and qualitative and that student learning is often better understood in a qualitative format due to the personalized and contextual nature of student learning, the data presented should provide a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data, all to provide a more complete picture that represents the whole child and his or her learning experience.