Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Using Student Data to Engage Families

The Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) recently released a number of resources on how to engage parents in utilizing student data to improve learning and performance. These resources include local examples of how community partners are working to increase parent engagement in schools and use student data to more effectively address the needs of individual learners.

Data on Data: A Resource Guide to Engaging Families with Student Data provides information on how data, when used by families, can increase community engagement around improving school outcomes. According to the guide, data provide a platform for discussing where kids are and how to achieve better results. Student data systems that are “accessible, understandable, and useable” by families help to ensure more authentic engagement that can sustain school reform efforts. The articles in this guide are grouped into three categories: (1) perspectives that offer lessons learned from family and community use of data, (2) program examples that illustrate what it takes to make data actionable for families, and (3) tools to understand how data can be analyzed.
The October FINE (Family Involvement Network of Educators) newsletter , discusses education reform strategies that have made student data a centerpiece of family engagement by using student data as an entry point of communication between schools and families. The newsletter focuses on innovative strategies to use data to engage the community around student performance that are being implemented at the local level.
These resources also build upon a series of webinars, Achieving Excellence and Innovation in Family, School and Community Engagement, organized by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with United Way Worldwide, National PTA, SEDL and Harvard Family Research Project. The third and final webinar in August 2010, Data Driven: Making Student and School Data Accessible and Meaningful to Families, focused on examples of how data can be used to engage families in programs, schools and school districts. Presenters included officials from the Department of Education and local leaders who are successfully building connections between families and schools using school data systems. Materials from the webinar can be found here.

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