Archive for June, 2012

Delaware wins $4.6 million for data systems

June 27, 2012 1 comment

The Delaware Department of Education has won a $4.6 million Federal grant for expanding its statewide longitudinal data systems. The grant is awarded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) under its Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program.

DDOE intends to use this grant to build the next phase of its Education Insight Project, which was begun using funding from Delaware’s RTTT award. According to the Education Insight project manager Reese Robinson last month:

In Delaware, we have just completed the pilot rollout of our longitudinal data warehouse and performance management dashboards. Both are based on Ed-Fi standards and the Ed-Fi dashboard code base. These projects, collectively known as “Education Insight,” are a cornerstone of Delaware’s Race to the Top initiative, focused on enabling data-driven decision making throughout the education system and contributing to improved outcomes for Delaware students.
(click here for the rest of the article)

I’ve blogged about the Teacher Dashboard and the Ed-Fi standards previously.

The grant application
The application for the SLDS grant is a gold mine of information about the background and future plans for the Education Insight project. There are three documents in the application: the abstract, the main narrative, and the budget narrative.

Unfortunately I still don’t see any plans to bring gradebook data (daily classroom grades) into the data warehouse for data-mining, analysis, and reporting. As I’ve commented before:

eSchoolPLUS contains mountains of unused data, ripe to be developed into valuable new forms of information. Data-mining techniques could be applied to find better indicators of performance to help students sooner, or to better measure new aspects of performance, or to drive innovative new research. [—]

So how can we get some data that is actually based on daily activity in the classroom? The answer is to look inside the eSchoolPLUS assignment tables and grades. That is where daily activity is recorded and stored. Few things reveal more about a teacher or a student than the daily flow of assignments given and grades received. But none of our metrics are looking there.

The projects
There is far too much good information to quote here, but the three main components described in the grant application are:

Local Assessment Builder (LAB)
Delaware Data-Driven Analysis Program (3DAP)
Legacy Migration (LM)

The main narrative offers some further descriptions of the three components:

1. Delaware Local Assessment Builder (LAB)
The Delaware LAB Project is envisioned to create the capacity for Delaware schools and
teachers to manage their own local assessments using both a national content library
and local items. Teachers will also be able to both scan their paper tests and have their
students take them online. Schools and districts will manage assessment data mapped
to their curriculum and their benchmark assessments. With the capacity to upload
these data to the Insight Data Warehouse, the users will be able to link to all the data
there. For example, teacher data in the Insight Data Warehouse includes performance
ratings, certification status, and highly qualified teacher status. For students, the data include elements such as statewide assessment scores, attendance, grades, and
discipline. The Insight Dashboard and its reporting tools will then be available for
analysis and reporting.

I’ll have more on the Local Assessment Builder in a follow-up post.

Teachers, if your eyes are glazing over by now at these technical descriptions, this ought to get your attention:

LAB will also provide DDOE with the ability to deliver a statewide assessment that can be used for Component 5 of Delaware’s Teacher Accountability Program. DDOE is developing statewide assessments to be used for accountability in non-core areas. The integration of the assessment builder application into the Insight Data Warehouse and Dashboard is crucial to the use of the results of the assessments by teachers.

I still haven’t found more details on that.

2. Delaware Data-Driven Analysis Program (3DAP)
The 3DAP is envisioned to provide the users of the Insight Dashboard and Warehouse
the analytical tools, training, and support required to understand the data and make full
and proper use of them. Users of all roles will be personally trained and have printed
and on-line guidance materials available to them.

When data coaches aren’t enough, there’s 3DAP.

3. Legacy Migration (LM)
The LM project is envisioned as the completion of the systems re-engineering begun by
the Insight Data Warehouse. The Insight Data Warehouse brings data from 33 source
repositories into a central data store for access by the Insight Dashboard. The Insight
Dashboard in turn provides the new capacity for ad hoc queries, longitudinal analyses,
and research. However, all of the 33 source repositories did not go away, and many
legacy reports are still generated from them.

This is just basic plumbing that has to be done.


Blue-Gold football game this Saturday

June 22, 2012 1 comment

Delaware’s 57th Annual DFRC Blue-Gold All★Star Football Game is one of Delaware’s premier benefit events and is for a good cause, helping those with intellectual disabilities. It’s always a great game, with high school all-star players, band members, and cheerleaders from around the state. And since this is Delaware after all, you are guaranteed to meet your friends and your elected officials (and those who would like to become elected officials!) One year I bought a hot dog from Governor Tom Carper as he walked the stands selling hot dogs.

Kickoff is at 7pm, but there are pre-game activities for the kids and of course, tailgating:

57th Annual DFRC Blue-Gold All*Star Football Game
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Kid’s Activities start at 4 PM
Stadium Gates open at 5 PM
Pre-Game Activities start at 6 PM
Kickoff at 7 PM
Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium, Newark

Tickets are available online through TicketLeap,  at all Delaware Grotto Pizza Restaurants and at Delaware Stadium in Newark on Game Day starting at 3:30 PM. General Admission Tickets are $10, Student Tickets are $7 and there are online discounts for groups of 10 or more.

It’s more than just a football game. For weeks before the game, the football players and cheerleaders are matched with individual “buddies” who benefit from the programs, and they spend time together at their homes and other events, even if it’s just having a catch. I know this first-hand, because my younger brother with Downs Syndrome was always thrilled when his buddy came to visit. These high school kids really are All Stars.

So even if you’re not sure if you can go, pick up a few tickets anyway.

I guess I’m on a brief hiatus

June 18, 2012 Comments off

Work and family have been claiming more of my time lately. I’m not sure what happens to education blogs in the summer, but I guess I’m about to find out.

I have plenty of posts in the pipeline though that I need to complete research on, so I’ll be back probably by the end of June.

Transit of Venus today

June 5, 2012 2 comments

Begins: 5:03:55 pm in Delaware. The transit lasts nearly seven hours, but the sun sets before it ends.
Webcast: Best bet 5:45 pm, NASA webcast from Mauna Kea, Hawaii. They will see the whole transit from beginning to end.

[…] Read more…

DCAS scores disappear from online portal

June 4, 2012 5 comments

UPDATE 6/4: According to the Delaware Department of Education, the missing scores are due to a technical problem traced to faulty data files provided by an assessment vendor. The problem should be fixed shortly and all DCAS scores restored. In the meantime, you can still check the latest Performance Level scores by logging into HAC.


If you were waiting for Spring DCAS scores to come in the mail, you can find them online right now on the Home Access Center (HAC), along with all your child’s past DCAS and DSTP scores.

Except that as of today, HAC is no longer displaying the Accountability or the Instructional score – just the Performance Level scores (1, 2. 3, 4). Up until today you could see all three scores on HAC.

I wonder if the loss of the Accountability and Instructional scores is permanent?