We've been working with an organization called Data Quality Campaign to help them teach the world how data can improve education. In their words:
Education data are simply information that can help parents, teachers, policymakers, and other stakeholders make informed decisions to improve student achievement. These data include things like student attendance, demographics, college-readiness scores, student growth data, teacher impact on students, success in college, and other useful, appropriate information.
DQC believes high-quality data are timely, easy for people to use, and paint a full picture of the education system. They follow teachers and students over time and are shared and used appropriately across systems to help all education stakeholders make the best decisions possible.
Not only is this a complex topic, there are privacy and security concerns:
Most personal student information stays local. Districts, states, and the federal government all collect data about students for important purposes like informing instruction and providing information to the public. But the type of data collected, and who can access them, is different at each point. Watch how student data—from schools to the US Department of Education—are and are not accessed and used.
When explained visually, the types of data, how they flow, and who sees what become concrete and understandable.