Magazine article Technology & Learning

Big Data: Analysis versus Paralysis

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Big Data: Analysis versus Paralysis

Article excerpt

BIG DATA. Even the buzzword is off-putting. Districts already have more data than they can manage, and the new assessments and teacher evaluations for 2014 promise to add more to the overflowing pile of numbers.

District leaders are overwhelmed right now because they face many changes in 2014, and they'rc all data-related. The first thing to do is figure out three issues: (1) What-sort of assessments you are giving, (2) how the data are being analyzed, and (3) who is accessing and using the data, and how.

Once you have these answers, you then need to ask, "What are our goals in terms of not only data analysis but data management?" For us, we concluded that we wanted our data to inform instruction, raise student achievement, and help teachers and principals be more efficient. I can't stress enough how much it is not about buying a product. You need a living, breathing partnership.

It is very easy to buy an out-of-the-box solution and then tweak it. However, it is very hard, focused, and intellectually demanding work to build what you really need. We developed a data warehouse called "The Data Store--A One Stop Shop" with a committee that included teachers, principals, and school counselors, as well as our assessment department, our curriculum department, and the tech department. …

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