South Carolina Academic Growth Dashboard
In 2019, EA began working with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) to co-build growth metrics for the 2018-19 school year and beyond. One of the most pressing needs the SCDE had was providing more understandable and actionable reports for different educational stakeholders. After working together to understand the available data and develop a set of options for statistical models to use, EA worked closely with SCDE to build both a public and a private-facing dashboard for viewing growth scores across the state.
The public South Carolina Academic Growth Dashboard displays school growth metrics for every district in the state, and allows users to filter results by school, subject, grade, and student demographic group. Digging into specific grades within schools, users can view the growth of students at the school and how their achievement results have changed over time. The private dashboard is only accessible to district staff and principals. After securely logging on, these users can view additional information such as classroom-level data and students rosters.
The dashboard co-build began with understanding the partner’s “big-picture” ideas and goals for the site. To develop the specific pages and data displays, EA led a series of interviews with parents, teachers, and principals to better understand what these audiences cared most about. EA designed the site based on these interviews and vetted the approach with SCDE staff to ensure alignment with state strategy and vision. EA then custom built the site to match the intended design and conducted in-person usability tests with parents, educators, district staff, and state staff to ensure accessibility of the dashboard’s content to its intended users.
EA’s co-build process was implemented to understand SCDE’s needs, create the right metrics to address those needs, and create an interactive and intuitive website to display the data. A major outcome of this work was implementing a user-centered design approach to successfully roll out a new, public-facing website for parents and others to view district- and school-level data.
Working on the South Carolina Academic Growth Dashboard was an exciting and gratifying experience. In this project, we put together advanced analytics in an easy-to-use and actionable way for practitioners and families to make decisions. This dashboard presents growth as a measure to understand the impact of schools and teachers through an equitable perspective, giving users more insights into what schools are doing for their students.
EA was precise around expectations and communication, met every internal goal they set for themselves, and communicated incredibly effectively around barriers and what they needed from me in order to overcome any potential barriers. When they ran into an obstacle, it wasn’t an excuse, it was an opportunity to say, “Look, here’s how we can move the ball forward…” When you’re doing something like rolling out a value add measure that’s a significant change, there’s a lot of opportunities for obstacles and push-back. And they brought some out-of-the-box thinking and tremendous communication skills.
What Lies Ahead
This dashboard was just a first step in providing access to meaningful and useful district- and school-level information in South Carolina. Since the launch of this public-facing dashboard, EA has developed and implemented a secure private dashboard that expands the insights for educators. We also developed the Rally Analytics Platform, that integrates interim assessment data with state summative assessment data to provide forward-looking projections of student academic performance. This work continues to evolve as we plan to launch a school and district leader version of Rally, in order to provide more actionable information for improving student outcomes to stakeholders at all levels of the educational system. EA is of a continuous improvement and partnership mindset, meaning EA is committed to improving research, analytics, and dashboarding over time to better serve South Carolina.
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