INSITE recognized for data-driven improvements in schools

Rosh Dhanawade, Michael Taylor and Molly Stewart with their award from the 2018 Ed-Fi Data Summit

A team from the School of Education has been recognized for their work using technology to help schools convert data into actionable information on a per-child basis. Michael Taylor, Molly Stewart and Rosh Dhanawade make up the Indiana Student Information to Empower (INSITE), an initiative designed to provide a system for converting data into actionable information to empower the teaching-learning process.

Via a set of technologies from Ed-Fi, school districts’ data are connected, allowing the various educational databases, such as student information systems, transportation, food service, and assessments to speak to each other. Unlike a data warehouse or archive, the information about each student is continually updated so critical issues with students can be identified immediately.

“Currently, there are three primary variables that have a significant impact: attendance, discipline and grades,” Taylor explained. “If you have a significant change in any one, it’s meaningful. If you have a change in all three, you’re heading towards an educational crisis. Currently there is no mechanism to see all three because different people in the school see each of those. Our data is live, so once all three of those happen, the teacher sees it live.”

Rather than grouping students together based on demographics and measuring improvement within those groups, INSITE allows teachers and administrators to focus on each child individually.

“Education should be about every child, not just about this group or demographic,” Taylor said. “It has to be about every single child. Ed-Fi gives us the ability to enable educators to do that. [Through this system] we elevate the burden of trying to dig through the data so the principal and others can take action.”

In seven months, the team has implemented the Ed-Fi suite in nine Indiana districts, affecting about 90,000 students. That was just one of the reasons the team won the Rookie of the Year award for at the 2018 Ed-Fi Data Summit.

The goals of INSITE are to shorten the feedback loop for data to become actionable information so that teachers have measurable criteria to confirm student progress, to enable each district to establish meaningful thresholds for students so that interventions can occur prior to an education crisis, and to empower school decision makers with data presented in a way that they can visualize, so as to promote data-driven decision making.