Posts Tagged ‘Education Insight Project’

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.

Delaware to adopt social media-like exchange for learning materials?

April 22, 2012 Comments off

Delaware teachers may soon be browsing, selecting, and downloading learning materials from a national online exchange with features of social media, which will assist them in meeting requirements of the Common Core State Standards.

This screenshot is a working prototype of the Learning Registry browser. Go ahead and try it; click on the screenshot to go to the browser. Enter some search terms and then refine your search (I entered “Civil War”). Remember this is a developers’ prototype and is not yet hooked up to rich sources of content. The version teachers use will likely be much more polished and customized.

The evidence that Delaware is actually planning to use this tool is circumstantial so far, but it seems clear something like it is in the future for Delaware’s teachers.

In a post a while back on the Shared Learning Collaborative, I mentioned the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI):

LRMI is basically a tagging scheme specialized to describe learning materials aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The idea is that content providers can apply these special tags to their CCSS-compliant learning materials and contribute them to a shared pool. Content could be just about any type of document or media: lesson plans, text-based resources, video, audio, images, documentation of specific learning activities, or more.

At the time, the technical information on how this would be implemented was very sketchy.

But in its February application for an ESEA waiver, DDOE lets slip a clue:

Compilation and cataloguing of Instructional Materials in the Learning Registry, with meta data analysis tagging enabling easy access within the state as well as across states for selected materials

The Learning Registry
The Learning Registry is an indexing engine for instructional materials. Think of it as Napster for instructional materials. It keeps a list of your own instructional materials, and then goes out and finds other lists. The materials themselves aren’t stored on the servers, but the lists know where they are stored. So you just have to click to download the materials from wherever they are.

[…] Read more…

Why Delaware schools need a Parent Dashboard

March 26, 2012 2 comments

In those heady early days after Delaware’s Race To The Top grant was awarded, Governor Markell blogged about the Education Insight project, announcing a Teacher Dashboard as well as a Parent Dashboard:

Another significant element of our education reform plan is the improved collection and use of data. Teachers, school leaders and parents need real feedback in real time to determine how our students are doing, so we are building systems to make that possible.

This will eventually include a new Parent Dashboard that will enable parents to go online at anytime and see critical measures and data regarding their children’s progress. The “Insight Portal” will pilot in Fall 2011, starting with dashboards for teachers, and the Parent Dashboards should become available in the 2011-2012 school year.

Now in March 2012, the Governor’s 2010 blog post seems like a bit of irrational exuberance. The Teacher Dashboard is due this month (delayed by amendment), and the first public sighting is eagerly awaited. And a Parent Dashboard isn’t on the drawing board. According to DDOE last month:

The state will focus on the needs of parents in later phases. Currently work is not being done on a parent dashboard and planned work will take us thorough 2013.

In fairness, DDOE also points out that parents currently have access to the dashboard-like Home Access Center, but teachers don’t yet have an integrated view for all their data. So the first priority is the Teacher Dashboard.

However, the same amendment that delayed the Teacher Dashboard from August 2011 to March 2012 also promised with maddening ambiguity to “Complete the expansion of the Dashboard to support other user groups by March 2013.” Who are those other user groups, if not parents? Administrators, perhaps?

There is good reason to begin planning for a Parent Dashboard now, and a good reason to do it ourselves instead of continuing to rely on the proprietary Home Access Center (HAC). We should go through the exercise of defining requirements and scoping the work for a Parent Dashboard. Even if we don’t go through with building it, the exercise will help us understand how to use our current system to increase student performance and parent involvement.

The main requirement for a Parent Dashboard should be that it completely replaces all the features of the Home Access Center, and then exceeds them by adding new data and new features using the power of the Education Insight infrastructure.

[…] Read more…

Ed-Fi standard Version 1.0 released

March 14, 2012 1 comment

Version 1.0 of the Ed-Fi specification and some sample code has been released and is now open for public comment, according to an email from the project’s sponsor, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. If you are a developer or other person interested in Delaware’s Education Insight project, this should be of interest to you.

Ed-Fi provides a data specification sponsored by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and apparently developed by Double Line Partners and other members of the Shared Learning Collaborative.

Delaware uses parts of the Ed-Fi specification for the data that populates the forthcoming Teacher Dashboards (as well as any future dashboards). Ed-Fi also provides dashboard examples which define the types of reporting and analysis provided by the dashboards, and which were relied on heavily to develop Delaware’s Teacher Dashboards.

The comment period for Version 1.0 had been closed but is now re-opened following some changes. Unfortunately the Ed-Fi forum has been closed, and now the only way to comment is by a contact form that goes to MSDF. I’ve got a few comments, and I’ll post them here when I submit them.

Here’s the Ed-Fi tech docs, the comment form, and the code repository. Here is Delaware’s site for the Ed-Fi-based metrics that underlie the Education Insight project.

There appears to be some fast talking about whether the Ed-Fi code is open-source or not as promised by the Shared learning Consortium (looks like it’s not). So I’m not sure if there is a way for the public to obtain the code. But all the documentation is online, so at this point I don’t really feel the need to see the code.

Teacher dashboards due this month

March 4, 2012 1 comment

Teacher Dashboards were to have been completed by August 2011, but were delayed to March 2012. Now March is here.

So teachers, it is time to start asking your data coach about dashboards. Because after all, the Teacher Dashboards show the data you are supposed to be talking about in your PLCs. I wrote about these dashboards and their origins earlier.

Here’s a screenshot from an early prototype of the Teacher Dashboard, which appears to be still the most current available:

Want to see more? Click one of these:

Elementary Student Interim Dashboard Snapshots
High School Student Interim Dashboard Snapshots
Classroom Interim Dashboard Snapshots

If you want to peek at even more, including the detail screens and the underlying metrics, you’ll have to go to the metrics site (or click on the image below) and drill down through the navigation tree on the right. I’ll follow up with a post later walking through the metrics and the detail views.