2018 March – Building a Robust Data-Management System2018-04-17T23:17:18+00:00
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March 2018

Building a Robust Data-Management System 
In just a few months, US PREP coalition members will have access to their own comprehensive data-management systems, complete with tailored, interactive dashboards. Data such as teacher candidate performance assessments, student perception surveys and mentor progress reports, can be used to visualize key performance indicators and make changes and decisions on a day-to-day basis. 
The data project is a collaborative effort to provide teacher preparation programs, within US PREP institutions, the information they need to develop exemplary teachers who are ready from day one to teach effectively and to engage and inspire students to move to even higher levels of achievement.  The work is being led by US PREP Executive Director, Sarah Beal and Marcelo Schmidt, US PREP Director of Data & Continuous Improvement.
 
“When programs are able to easily access data on their teacher candidates’ performance, the result doesn’t just affect the teacher candidates who are being trained,” said Beal. “It also affects the faculty who are training them, the administrators who lead the teacher preparation programs, the school districts where the candidates are trained, and the K-12 students who are being taught by our candidates.”
 
Using Data for Continuous Improvement
Significant transformative changes have taken place within the programs at each institution, but each also has continued to be challenged with the collection, analyzation, and utilization of data for the purpose of program improvement. 
Chris Mueller, Department Chair of the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership at the University of Memphis, considers that having a fully integrated dashboard will allow crucial data to be collected and utilized in a way that allows for true continuous evaluation and improvement at the candidate and program levels. Mueller stated, “As the teacher preparation landscape continues to evolve, responsive dashboards ensure that teacher preparation programs can keep pace with rapid advancements in technology, outcomes, and the ever-changing nature of the candidates we recruit.”
Providing Technical, On-the-Ground Assistance
Once the data system is developed, coalition members will receive ongoing training with inputting, accessing, and visualizing data. By providing technical assistance directly, US PREP staff will continue to support, at all levels, a culture of habitual and systematic use of data to not only make decisions about teacher candidate interventions and program revisions, but to also commit to the implementation of these decisions. Readily accessible data from all partners means US PREP staff, and each individual program,
will be better equipped to support enhanced data management and usage on an individual partner basis. This will help US PREP staff to quickly identify areas of strength and those that need improvement within each program. Additionally, data findings will continue to be shared across the coalition, allowing the members to learn from one another.
Conducting Research on Data Usage 
The final goal of the project is to explore how, and to what extent, US PREP supports continuous improvement in teacher preparation programs.
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The hope is that this research will demonstrate how the usage of these data can be applied to proactively design and implement interventions that improve evidence-based decision-making in teacher preparation programs. The first phase of the project has focused on supporting local program self-studies aimed at analysis and improvement of each provider's data use practices. Findings will be presented at the US PREP National Conference in June.
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