Chancellor Fariña Announces New School Data Tracking Tools to Drive School Improvement and Increase Accountability

  • Posted: Wed May 20, 2015 Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2018

Principals and Teachers Will Use New Data Tools to Inform Planning and Decision-Making

NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced the release of two innovative, interactive new data tools for school staff that will allow all schools across the City to more easily and accurately measure student progress and use those findings to improve their schools. Using the new tools, principals and teachers – including those at Renewal Schools – will be able to identify and support struggling students earlier than ever before, identify and address performance trends at their school, and track current and former students’ progress over time. The Progress to Graduation Tracker will be available to high schools and transfer high schools, while the School Performance Data Explorer will be available to all schools.
 
The Progress to Graduation Tracker will act as an early warning system, providing high school educators with real-time information updated daily about which individual students are on-track for college and graduation. The new School Performance Data Explorer – available to all schools – is the first to provide current metrics for all students, including by demographic subgroup and grade to help tailor early interventions and supports for those who need them most. In addition to the brand-new data on current metrics, the School Performance Data Explorer also includes information on how former students are doing academically since they have left the school that was previously provided to schools through the Where Are They Now reports.
 
Both the Progress to Graduation Tracker and the School Performance Data Explorer are versatile, easy-to-use tools that allow principals to search for – and sort by – certain student characteristics and examine both whole-school and individual-student metrics and trends. These new tools do not require any additional data submissions from schools, as the information included in both tools will be automatically submitted through data collection systems currently in use. Both tools have been developed in-house by the DOE. 
 
“In my many years as an educator, I’ve always been committed to using data effectively to drive improved outcomes for students and schools,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The new data tools we’re releasing today are going to be a tremendous benefit to principals and teachers – first, by giving them time to focus on instruction instead of having to collect and analyze data themselves, and second, by ensuring they have high-quality data that can inform their instruction and help them meet the needs of every student. These tools will be particularly helpful for our Renewal Schools, which can use them to support struggling students and identify areas for improvement.”
 
“School principals and teachers across the City will use the Progress to Graduation Tracker and School Performance Data Explorer to identify and address the needs of all their students,” said Phil Weinberg, Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning. “Having been a principal for 13 years and having discussed this issue with so many principals and teachers, I know that our educators are always looking for ways to collect and use data to better understand and improve their schools. These educator-facing, educator-friendly tools offer just that – thoughtful, user-friendly data that will improve schools and the instruction we offer across the system.”
 
Updated daily, the Progress to Graduation Tracker identifies students as:
 
• on-track for college, which includes students with the credits and exams necessary for a Regents diploma as well as the English and math scores necessary on Regents, SATs, ACTs, or a CUNY assessment to avoid remediation at CUNY; 
• on-track for a Regents diploma; 
• almost on track, which includes students who have fallen behind by one or two classes or exams required for a Regents diploma; or
• off track, which includes students behind by more than two required classes or exams. 
 
The Progress to Graduation Tracker is the first-ever DOE data tool to provide explicit real-time information about whether students are “on track,” and is also the first to address college readiness by incorporating results of SAT, ACT, and CUNY assessment tests. Its user-friendly format and early identification of whether students are on- or off-track provides critical information that schools need to effectively guide academic interventions and supports for struggling students.
 
The Progress to Graduation Tracker is the first DOE data tool to include a detailed single-student profile page that allows school staff to explore individual-level data more deeply and identify the exact areas of concern for each student, including what credits struggling students need to get back on track. It also includes interactive tables for tracking multiple students, including by demographic subgroup and grade, and school summaries for use by principals and superintendents. These views all include data on student attendance, as increased attendance rates are a critical aspect of raising student outcomes, particularly at struggling schools.
 
The School Performance Data Explorer is the first tool that allows schools to easily monitor current performance metrics, including proficiency levels and attendance, by demographic subgroup and grade. Using the School Performance Data Explorer, educators are also able to track the historical progress of their current students – also by subgroup and grade – for the first time. With the newfound ability to track and sort data by student characteristics as well as historical progress, principals will be better able to identify areas for improvement and evaluate their own performance.
 
The School Performance Data Explorer includes a more interactive version of information on former students’ academic progress once they leave the school than had previously been available since 2011 in the Where Are They Now reports. Additionally, as part of the information it provides to facilitate school planning and decision-making, the School Performance Data Explorer allows schools to compare their own students’ performance to those at schools across the City. The School Performance Data Explorer will be updated with testing, coursework, and attendance measures several times throughout each school year.
 
“Principals can rely on these new, comprehensive, real-time data tools to raise the level of teaching and learning in our classrooms, and ensure that there are no students or student subgroups that slip through the cracks,” said Courtney Winkfield, principal of the Academy for Young Writers. “This is also a game-changer in terms of efficiency, as it will save many principals and teachers time that they would otherwise spend collecting and compiling their own data. With this centralized and high-quality information, we’ll be able to make smarter decisions, communicate better with families, and help students achieve.”
 
“These are the first data tools I’ve seen that have taken all of the measures we’re accountable for, and put them in all in one place. As a school leader, I am confident that I’ll be able to use these tools to better understand my school’s needs and employ appropriate interventions moving forward. They are going to be great for so many principals like me, because they are up-to-date, user-friendly, and can really make an impact in the classroom,” said Meisha Ross Porter, principal of the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice.
 
To ensure educators are equipped to effectively utilize the Progress to Graduation Tracker and the School Performance Data Explorer, DOE has developed step-by-step webinar guides for school staff as well as field-based staff in superintendents’ and Borough Field Support Center offices. DOE shared the release of the new tools with all school principals earlier this week, and will also provide trainings in use of the new data tools for school-based staff this summer.
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