When students return to classrooms this fall, they did so not only in buildings, but online in Zoom rooms and Google hangouts, and often with a hybrid mix of both in person and virtual. Planning for this school year has been like no other. Teachers, principals, superintendents, IT teams, parents and students all had to adjust and readjust to a new normal and evolving circumstances.

Given this pace of change, districts and state agencies have had to adapt – quickly. One of the biggest and most important questions is around attendance. With the many different ways students are learning and engaging, educators are struggling with how to accurately capture attendance.

This has led to defining new data elements in order to capture where students are learning.  “New” also means there is high risk that the data is not collected or accessible in a standard way. An ad-hoc collection processes can lead to poor data quality and data that is unreliable to inform decision making.

Understanding this data –  where it is, how it is being captured, what stakeholders are asking for as it is exchanged, and generally how this data can be used at scale in K12 education – is essential to supporting students and teachers now and well into the future. For this reason, the Ed-Fi Alliance launched a research project and drafted recommendations to ensure that the Ed-Fi Community has access to and can make use of this new data.

Today we are excited to release Marked Present: Recommendations for Building a Framework to Measure Attendance Data Across Learning Models to support the K12 education community in better understanding student modality, attendance, and engagement data.

The work does not stop with this resource. The Ed-Fi Alliance, in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers, is committed to organizing and facilitating a Study Group to dig deeper into solving this known issue.  This will be a forum to gather the collective wisdom of the K12 community to better inform education leaders across states, districts, and vendors on how to fully utilize  data to support students and teachers. The Study Group will allow us to come together to both deepen understanding of this information and ultimately to take action on the recommendations.

We invite any SEA, LEA, or SIS vendor representative who is willing to dive into the details of student instructional modality, attendance, and engagement to join the Study Group. This group will be focused on action. We will bridge the gap between policy and data system implementation, tackling the challenges of creating more consistency in student instructional modality data.

To join this Study Group please email governance@ed-fi.org.

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