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September 6, 2023

Your 10-Step Guide to Data Readiness

Get your schools ready with our 10-step guide to data readiness.

In today's data-driven era, it's impossible to overlook the significance of having unified K-12 data in your schools and districts. While this task might initially seem overwhelming, bear in mind the numerous sources of data your school gathers on your students.

Consider the following questions in regard to your data: 

  • Where does it live? 
  • Who has access? 
  • Is your data siloed?
  • What story does your data tell? 
  • Who owns your data?

10 Steps to Data Readiness

Starting the process of unifying K-12 data and venturing into full data interoperability (say that three times fast!) is a journey, not a destination. It all starts with ripping off the band-aid. Some districts are ready, and some have work to do. But if not now, when?

Instead of logging into multiple portals to access this information, wouldn’t it be more efficient to see all points of data in one place? 

Data interoperability can assist your school or district in using actionable data for real-time decision-making concerning instruction, student support, tracking student progress, and managing district resources.

To facilitate data-serving learning for your school or district, we’ve compiled a list of 10 steps to help you reach data readiness: 

  1. Form a data governance team: Data management isn't a one-person show. It requires the collaboration of stakeholders from various departments, along with caregiver and student representatives. Data governance teams play a pivotal role in formulating processes for handling the district's sensitive data, especially personal information and its collection, maintenance, usage, and distribution. They safeguard the district and its students through these vital processes.
  1. Audit your data: Find out where your data lives. Make a chart of all the data points you collect from attendance to assessment to interventions and beyond. 
  1. Determine data accessibility: Is there a standardized process for onboarding and offboarding employees who access student data? In case of contract termination with a vendor, who retains the data ownership?
  2. Appoint a district data steward: Data stewards are important individuals who are the gatekeepers to student data and ensure data sharing protocols are followed. 
  1. Educate stakeholders: Ensure stakeholders understand the importance of student data, data interoperability, and student data privacy. Here are a few beginner-friendly resources:
  1. Evaluate your district’s data culture: Ensure transparency is prioritized when analyzing and reporting data. Do your teachers and administrators recognize the value of accessible and actionable data? Sharing the “why” and the significance of unifying K-12 data is of utmost importance.
  1. Inform your edtech vendor partners about your DATA IO goals: They might have specific features that need to be prioritized to achieve your district data goals. They could also aid you by providing access to internal resources. 
  1. Assess data accessibility for your stakeholders: Seek feedback from end users regarding the ease of data access, data export, and report generation.
  1. Review your state’s and district’s student data security and privacy policies: Understanding and complying with state and district policies concerning student data privacy is crucial.
  1. Apply an equity lens to your data: Applying an equity lens to student data is essential to create a fair and inclusive education system that ensures the success of all students, irrespective of their background or circumstances. This approach helps identify disparities, formulate interventions, and encourage equitable practices, leading to improved educational outcomes for marginalized students.

Remember #DATAIO does not happen overnight. It will likely have many iterations. Standardizing data processes now will make your school or district more agile when it comes to decision-making and planning for the future.

Leveraging Pear Assessment to Increase Data Readiness 

After embarking on your journey toward data readiness, the next component to consider is how you can leverage existing tools to support your data needs. This is where the abstract concept of data readiness concretely translates into your daily practices, bridging your efforts towards unifying data with an efficient tool that makes sense of it all.

Pear Assessment's (formerly, Edulastic) Data Studio equips educators and admins with a comprehensive view of learning, fostering data-driven strategies that contribute to student success. By merging Pear Assessment's reporting capabilities with third-party sources, you can significantly inform your Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) planning at district, school, and individual student levels.

Pear Assessment's Data Studio supports your commitment to data readiness, providing a comprehensive and user-friendly platform to navigate, analyze, and use your school or district's data effectively. As you venture into data interoperability, remember it's a journey, not a destination, and Data Studio is here to guide you along the way. 

Bring Data Studio to Your School

Erica Hartman Headshot

Erica Hartman

Subject Matter Expert, CTO Person Rev/Strat

Erica Hartman is a former director of technology in public education and serves as a Subject Matter Expert on GoGuardian’s strategy team. Erica has 20 years of teaching and administrative experience helping school districts choose digital platforms that best suit their strategic goals. She specializes in large-scale deployments, digital architecture of online platforms, data interoperability, blended learning, digital citizenship, and student safety.


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