It is inevitable. There is no escaping it. Sooner or later during our SchoolSite training it happens. Eventually I will say to you “you have some work to do cleaning your student data.” I have trained administrators across North America and no one has been able to avoid the reality that so often our student data is not as accurate as we believe.
Is this really a surprise though? Most districts have dozens of people entering and maintaining student data. The term “too many cooks in the kitchen” does not do this situation justice. Here is the real issue though: Who validates this data? Who looks at the data in its geographic context and looks for patterns and validates the relationships between data sets?
Here is an example I saw recently. I was using Davis’ SchoolSite data validation tool for enrollment forecasts and discovered that a school had students enrolled who were outside the school’s grade range. The school was a high school (grades 9-12) but had kindergarten, first, and second grade students enrolled. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that these students had birthdays in the early 2000’s. There were high school students after all, but the student information system had the wrong grade attached to them. This error was one the previous year’s data too: This error had existed for over a whole school year undetected!
It took detailed data validation to detect this issue. These issues are not uncommon. The saying “garbage in, garbage out” applies to student projections along with many other parts of data analysis. With out addressing these issues, it is impossible to create reliable forecasts.
Contact me if you would like to hear how Davis Demographics’ data analysis and validation can help your school district.