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ERIC Number: ED518095
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
Lessons for Establishing a Foundation for Data Use in DC Public Schools. The Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship Series. Volume I
Smerdon, Becky; Evan, Aimee
Council of the Great City Schools
With a grant from the Council of the Great City Schools' Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship Program, the authors began a project designed to identify the roots of the dropout problem in the District of Columbia by identifying middle grades students' exhibiting behaviors associated with dropping out of high school. Their plan was to use DC Public Schools' extant data to create indicators of high school readiness by (1) identifying successful and unsuccessful high school students and then (2) using their middle school records to identify the middle school-level academic characteristics that distinguish successful high school students from their less successful counterparts. They planned to derive an indicator from these middle school characteristics that would serve as an "early warning signal" to distinguish between DC middle school students who are and are not ready for high school and more pointedly, those who are at risk of dropping out of high school. After meetings with DC's Office of Assessment and Accountability, they conducted a thorough inventory of the DC Public Schools data, provided by the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. Supplemented with data from the Common Core Data (CCD) and the DC Public Charter Board, they examined student-level data from grades 6-9 between fall 2005 and spring 2008. They concluded that the DC Public Schools' extant data are not, at this time, suitable for the early warning indicator they had proposed to develop. For example, attendance data--a major component in early warning indicators developed in other jurisdictions--indicated that there were no absences in 2006-07; absenteeism data in other years may be underestimated as they appear lower than expected compared with other jurisdictions such as Baltimore City Public Schools and Prince Georges County. Equally troubling was that only 23 percent of the students in the dataset had three years of consecutive data, which they did not believe to be an adequate representation of the students in the District. Through their communications with the district and a review of district strategies, they also concluded that the Chancellor and her staff have been working diligently to create reliable, valid, longitudinal datasets. In an effort to support their work, they revised their project goals to examine some of the data problems they uncovered when they conducted their inventory. Specifically, the authors visited a sample of K-8 schools in the District in the spring of 2009 to learn more about how they collect and report data, as well as how they use data to guide their own decision making. This report is a summary of their findings and is organized into three sections. The first section describes what they learned from a series of data audits conducted in a sample of DC Public Schools. The purpose of the audits was to identify data reported by the schools, as well as identify information collected at the school, by whom, how often, where it was stored, and barriers to data collection. This section also provides a summary of if and how data are used in schools and classrooms. In the second section of this report, the authors make recommendations for laying a foundation for future data collection and use in DC Public Schools. Finally, in the appendix they provide descriptive, cross-sectional analyses of one measure that has been associated with school failure and for which they have good data--students who are overage for grade. Topic in Focus: An Examination of Students Overage for Grade is appended. (Contains 16 figures, 1 map, 3 tables and 24 footnotes.) [For related reports, see Volume II (ED518089), Volume III (ED518090), and Volume IV (ED518092).]
Council of the Great City Schools. 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 702, Washington, DC 20004. Tel: 202-393-2427; Fax: 202-393-2400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council of the Great City Schools
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)