Posted on October 14, 2011 by Scott Tesnow
Education data needs are going through a profound transformation as a result of multiple influences such as the National Data Quality Campaign, America Competes Act, and Race to the Top, which are imposing performance standards at the same time that they are infusing unprecedented levels of federal and state investment. The national policy implications are of major consequence, and the business opportunities are equally significant.
The challenges of creating vast new longitudinal systems have forced states and local school system to look for technical resources strategically positioned to help conceive, execute, develop, and support systems that before now had no equivalence.
A longitudinal data system that meets the National Data Quality Campaign’s ten elements must be capable of tracking unique student and educator information over multiple years, across schools, and even across school systems. All the states which won the highly competitive federal Race to the Top grants were either advanced in their development of a longitudinal data system or made convincing assurances that they were able to bring this technological innovation to fruition.
Thus multiple strands of federal and state funding are dedicated to aid the design and implementation of such systems. A comprehensive, flexible, and responsive longitudinal data system can support better understanding of how students are performing and how effectively schools are addressing their academic needs. They are the foundation of educator effectiveness movement. In tracking performance over time, longitudinal systems provide a more complete and meaningful picture of how individuals and groups are doing and what can be done to improve learning outcomes. Resources are finite, and good data are essential to targeting them efficiently and effectively.
Mythics has been ahead of the curve in reaching out to partner with public education to provide this kind of support. At present, Mythics has helped support initiatives in areas which cover the sweep from early childhood to post graduation outcomes. In the state of Maryland (whose Governor, Martin O’Malley, won this year’s Data Quality Campaign leadership award), a senior team of Mythics subject matter experts, business analysts, and Oracle developers are providing functional and technical expertise to help the state meet its Race to the Top assurances.
A fundamental component of success for these programs is a solid data architecture with a reliable and flexible reporting capability. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition allows for interactive decision dashboards, ad hoc analysis, predictive alerts, scorecards, and has the ability to aggregate data from an unlimited number of data sources.
The many benefits of these types of programs can include better tools and structures for administrators, increase visibility into student progress for parents, continuous improvement for teachers, and ultimately higher probability for student success, K-12 and beyond.