Nebraska is the latest state to license the Ed-Fi solution. I sat down with Marilyn Peterson, Nebraska’s State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) grant director, for a Q&A on the thoughts behind Nebraska’s decision to adopt the Ed-Fi solution.
TW: What are the most pressing education data issues for Nebraska today and tomorrow?
MP: Like many states, Nebraska has a larger number of small school districts that now do not have access to granular education data, and a handful of large districts that have moved forward developing their own dashboards. Educator-facing dashboards save valuable teacher time by providing immediate and accurate information about the students in their classroom. However, our limited resources and budget were hindering our ability to offer a single solution for all of Nebraska’s districts.
TW: Why is the Ed-Fi solution right for the education data challenges facing your state?
MP: Nebraska has limited resources for new education initiatives at the state level. For that reason, it was unlikely that all Nebraska schools would have had an opportunity to provide high-quality dashboards without the free license for the Ed-Fi solution offered by Ed-Fi Alliance.
TW: What are the next steps you plan to take in implementing the Ed-Fi solution?
MP: Nebraska has engaged a large number of districts and Educational Service Units to be involved in creating Nebraska’s Ed-Fi Powered classroom, campus and district-level dashboards. Stakeholder groups from across the state are providing their top ten data needs and questions. Multiple districts are volunteering to serve as pilots for the development and assembly of the dashboard. An advisory group meets regularly to provide input and guidance to the process.
TW: What most excites you about your progress towards empowering educators for real time insights on their students?
MP: The initial response from Nebraska educators asked to participate in this project recognizes that these high-quality, student-level dashboards are valuable, easy-to-use tools that organize existing student data in a way that informs instruction and moves forward student learning.
Troy Wheeler is the vice president of strategic market development for the Ed-Fi Alliance.