The 2022-23 school year marked the first academic year when most students were back in school full time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the challenge of educating the 49.5 million students in the PK-12 public education system, educators, parents, families, and those who support them continue to learn about how the pandemic has changed the education landscape.
We asked six leaders from across Education Analytics (EA) to reflect on lessons they've learned from the past school year. In this blog, we share their thoughts about the ever-evolving landscape of digital tools, pedagogical approaches, and innovations in the post-pandemic era of K-12 education.
Districts are actively working to adapt to the changing needs of students and educators in the face of the pandemic. There is an increasing need to know what interventions and programs work to support and advance student learning. This has pushed the research and analytics community to develop tools that provide timely answers to these critical questions. EA continues to develop such tools that can support districts and educators in understanding what works for students and under what conditions by leveraging data already collected by districts, and by applying rigorous research methods to assess impacts on important outcomes.
Education metrics and analytical results are only useful if they directly inform educational practice. Applied research and analytics that we provide need to be part of an ongoing conversation between researchers and analysts on the one hand, and education leaders and practitioners on the other. This way, we can ensure that metrics are relevant, interpretable, up-to-date, and directed at the most pressing questions educators have.
As education agencies invest more in modernizing their data infrastructure, technical improvements may not automatically translate to positive impacts on students. We need to build action-oriented software tools that make data more accessible to educators and administrators. In doing so, we can provide more value to educators, and therefore, students.
As a parent to school-aged children, I see only a fraction of the complexity that our educators work through to help students thrive. We must partner with educators to design nimble technology and software solutions that can surface new insights that help them continuously improve student outcomes.
The rapid pace of development of data pipelines has exposed the need for people-centric approaches to deploying technology. Technological transfer and transformation continues to become less costly, so the dividends need to be invested in scaffolding people and processes that interact with and use the data systems within education organizations.
Data modernization projects to replace old, expensive systems with newer technologies based on open standards can be difficult work, but the payoff when things come together makes it worthwhile. We are really starting to see the impact these efforts can have for state and district staff, educators, and students.
The 2022-23 school year presented numerous challenges and valuable lessons for educators, students, and parents alike. Collaboration, flexibility, and innovative thinking are critical in navigating opportunities to embrace technology, data-driven approaches, and evidence-based practices to further enhance our educational systems.
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