Data discontent: Survey outlines local concerns

How unpopular is the Idaho System for Educational Excellence — the state’s far-reaching and labor-intensive network for collecting student data?

Consider a few damning numbers from a recent survey of local school officials:

  • In all, 77 percent of local school officials have a high degree of confidence that they are uploading accurate information into ISEE.
  • However, only 40 percent of respondents have a high degree of confidence in the reports they generate from ISEE data.
  • Only 25 percent of respondents “believe that statewide public school data reported directly from ISEE can be used with confidence by policy decisionmakers.”

So here’s the confidence gap, in a nutshell. Even though many local school officials complain that the monthly ISEE reports are cumbersome and labor-intensive, they ultimately believe they are turning in good data. But these same officials have little confidence in the data they’re getting back from the state.

And these local officials also give the state Education Department decent grades for support and communication on ISEE issues. But more than a quarter of respondents rated the state’s ISEE training as “poor,” and nearly a third said the process for correcting faulty ISEE uploads was “poor.”

The Idaho Association of School Business Officials and the Idaho Association of School Administrators conducted the survey in August and September. The sample size was small; the groups asked schools to submit only one response apiece, and still heard from only 57 schools.

But the responses, and the long narratives, offer a glimpse into schools’ concerns with the process, and the end product, of state data collection.

The study was a talking point Thursday, when a legislative committee on K-12 issues spent much of its first meeting discussing data issues.

Here’s a link to the full study, posted by the Idaho School Boards Association.

And here are links to our story and our analysis from Thursday’s meeting.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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