Data Quality Is Everything

On August 17, 2014, the New York Times published an article titled, “For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights.” The article discusses the struggles facing several startups that offer products and services related to big data analysis. The article’s title refers to the critical and often unseen process of cleaning data to improve accuracy and usefulness. “Data scientists,” according to the article, “spend from 50 percent to 80 percent of their time mired in this more mundane labor of collecting and preparing unruly digital data, before it can be explored for useful nuggets.”

Schoolzilla is not in the “big data” business. Big data is all about aggregate trends. While of course Schoolzilla can do that too, we like to think of Schoolzilla as helping educators solve smaller and often more important data problems, such as highlighting challenges and achievements for educators, administrators, and family members (whether at the individual, group, classroom, teacher, grade, district, subgroup or district level, among other things). Having said that, we believe that consistent data quality and accuracy is among our most important early contributions to our customers’ success.

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Case Study: How Aspire Improved Retention and Student Success with Schoolzilla

In 1999, Aspire opened its first school in Modesto, CA. Fifteen years later, Aspire Public Schools is one the nation’s highest-performing school systems serving primarily low-income students, and currently serves more than 13,000 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade in California and Tennessee. For the last four years, 100% of Aspire graduates have earned admission to a 4-year college. We spoke with Amy Fowler, Aspire’s Director of Secondary Education and Student Programs, to learn how the Aspire team used Schoolzilla to increase student retention and graduation rates.

The Problem: Student Attrition

“Aspire is focused on giving its students the best educational opportunities that they can,” Amy Fowler shared. “We really do believe that all kids can achieve this goal: we want 100% of our graduates to go to college. And, we simultaneously want 100% of our 9th graders to make it to 12th grade with us, not with someone else.” Because of this focus, Aspire was especially concerned about students who were choosing to leave.

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