Case Study: KIPP NYC’s Comprehensive Data View

KIPP NYC’s regional data team was consistently hearing requests from its teachers and school leaders for an easier way to view student level data across multiple metrics. School teams wanted a more efficient and effective way to get a complete picture of individual students and conduct analyses of data from different sources.

This case study explores how KIPP NYC created a comprehensive student data file to provide their educators with the timely, complete data they need. It also explains how the data team replaced a process that took two weeks with a process that now takes ten minutes.

“Schoolzilla empowered us to increase access to the data and analyses that our school leaders and teachers have desired for years.”

ABOUT KIPP NYC

KIPP NYC is a network of free, open-enrollment public charter schools, serving more than 4,000 students across 11 schools in New York City. Two of the network’s guiding principles are high expectations for kids and a relentless focus on results. To that end, thoughtful data use by teachers and school leaders is central to KIPP NYC’s operations.

THE CHALLENGE

KIPP NYC already had a strong data-driven culture and many excellent data practices in place. But its regional data team was consistently hearing requests from its teachers and school leaders who wanted an easier way to view student-level data across multiple metrics. School teams wanted a more efficient and effective way to get a complete picture of individual students and conduct analyses of data from different sources.

Several pain points had emerged:

  • Educators and data team members’ valuable time was being consumed by tracking down and manually joining data from separate systems, which required them to use creative but cumbersome Excel workarounds and then email the spreadsheets.
  • These manual processes cut into the time that the data team was available to provide hands-on assistance to teachers and school leaders, such as supporting them in interpreting and using the data.
  • Truly comprehensive, compiled student-level data only reached educators at the end of the school year, which limited its usefulness.
  • Separate systems, varied data structures, and lost historical data hindered the types of analyses possible, potentially leaving valuable insights undiscovered.

“While it would have been technically feasible to manually join each set of Illuminate assessment data, NWEA MAP data, and student and demographic data from PowerSchool in Excel multiple times a year, it wasn’t even in the realm of possibility for us. It would have taken weeks of manual data management. We simply didn’t have the bandwidth to do that.”

THE SOLUTION

KIPP NYC implemented Schoolzilla in Spring 2014. Cleaned, standardized, and up-to-date data from KIPP NYC’s most important sources is now merged and securely stored in a centralized data warehouse – allowing simplified access, analysis, and reporting.

Leveraging Schoolzilla’s data platform, KIPP NYC created a comprehensive student data file for teachers and school leaders. The file, which takes 10 minutes to update monthly, consolidates high-level and detailed data from almost a dozen data domains.

The data team’s decision to invest significant time in creating the infrastructure for this process has more than paid off. In addition to the added efficiencies and reduced turnaround times detailed below, this has also paved the way for ongoing improvement. KIPP NYC is already looking to the future and hopes to add historical individual student data and blended learning systems data.

“We were able to rethink our entire process for sharing student-level data. Now we have all our data in one place that’s easy to update.” – Brad White, KIPP NYC Data & Analysis Manager

OLD PROCESSES

A.) Year-end, two-week-long process to produce one retrospective student data file.

  • Individually open and manually interact with data from at least five separate systems:
    • PowerSchool student information system
    • NWEA MAP system
    • NY State and NYC testing data systems
    • Illuminate assessment system
    • Dozens of custom-created Excel workbooks
  • Manually consolidate data from these sources into 11 different spreadsheets – one for each school site
  • Send the consolidated student-level data summaries to schools once a year in late July
  • Educators used summaries for reflection and planning for the following school year

B.)  Intermittent single-source data sharing throughout the school year. For example:

  • Download results from NWEA MAP and create school- and network-wide aggregate reports
  • Download student demographic data from PowerSchool
  • Manually join demographic and MAP data using vlookups and pivot tables to create Excel rosters with all student-level MAP data
  • Email the school teams both the student-level Excel sheets and the aggregate result reports
  • Repeat this process each fall, winter, and spring for reading assessments and math assessments
  • Repeat a similar process for New York state tests and periodically for year-to-date suspension reports and attendance reports.

NEW PROCESS

Ten-minute-long process, once a month. Produces a current, actionable Comprehensive Student Data File, available all school year.

  • Open KIPP NYC-created master report template that queries the Schoolzilla data warehouse, where data from all the disparate systems lives.
  • Click refresh, which allows the query to run for approximately ten minutes.
  • Teachers and school leaders can immediately access up-to-date, holistic student-level data in a secure shared folder and can easily access accompanying visual Tableau reports.
  • Educators can use the reports to inform teaching and learning throughout the school year, including year-end reflection and planning.

THE BENEFITS

By leveraging Schoolzilla, KIPP NYC has successfully:

  • Empowered its teachers and school leaders with simple access to current, actionable student-level data to inform instruction and intervention.
  • Reduced the number of files that teachers and school leaders have to keep track of.
  • Eliminated the need to email individual files dozens of times throughout the school year, thereby improving student data security and eliminating lost data.
  • Drastically reduced the time spent on manual data management, which has freed the data team to provide more hands-on support to teachers and school leaders to interpret and use data.
  • Provided timely, automated reports and visualizations to its educators.
  • Created an infrastructure that allows for ongoing improvement and customization.