Seven districts from Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools used learning analytics software to track edtech efficacy and find surprising ways to improve learning
CatchOn today introduced a new report, Best Practices in the Use of Data Analytics, which tracks seven districts from Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools through a pilot during which they used CatchOn’s learning analytics solution. The goal of the pilot was to better understand how students and teachers were engaging with the digital tools and resources available to them, and how that data could transform pedagogy, technology purchases, and digital strategy.
Last year, K-12 districts in the U.S. spent $35.8 billion in 2020 on hardware, software, curriculum resources and networks; now, more than ever, districts are trying to fully understand both the return on—and impact of—that investment.
“Assessing the true efficacy of edtech has long been a challenge for most districts, because they often don’t have the complete picture of what tools and resources are actually being used, by whom, and for what purpose,” said Monica Cougan, CatchOn’s manager of strategic relationships and initiatives. “The data that most districts have on edtech usage and efficacy is siloed, and it’s difficult to see the whole data story. CatchOn provides the tools and learning analytics that make it easy to convert that data into an accelerant to change.”
All seven participating districts are members of the League of Innovative Schools, a national network of forward-thinking education leaders who work together to improve outcomes for students and solve the challenges facing K-12 schools through powerful and smart use of learning technologies by partnering with entrepreneurs, researchers, and leading education thinkers.
The pilot districts featured in the report are geographically and demographically diverse—Baldwin County Public Schools (Bay Minette, AL), Chesapeake City Public Schools (Chesapeake, VA), Lexington County School District One (Lexington, SC), Lincoln Public Schools, (Lincoln, NE), Morris School District (Morristown, NJ), Piedmont City Schools (Piedmont, AL), and Portland Public Schools (Portland, OR)—which created a fascinating testbed for exploring best practices that could be replicated in districts across the country.
"Through the strategic and effective use of data, school leaders can make informed decisions regarding budgets, curricula, resources, staffing, and other supports for students,” said Dewayne McClary, Digital Promise’s director of the League of Innovative Schools. “Data disaggregation is a powerful tool that allows school leaders to be more intentional about their decision-making and address educational inequities that have plagued student achievement and opportunity for far too long."
CatchOn contracted Project Tomorrow to conduct an external analysis and evaluation of the aggregated data collected through the pilot. They found that 100% of the leaders from the pilot school districts said that their CatchOn data is valuable for informing ROI analysis on technology investments, supporting their district’s online learning initiatives, and helping them identify gaps in student engagement that can indicate inequity.
“We are evolving into an enterprise K-12 school district, meaning that we are centralizing the purchasing process for apps,” said Homer Coffman, chief technology officer at Baldwin County Public Schools. “In order to make intelligent and informed decisions about the professional development and support we can provide regarding these tools, we have to know what the teachers and students are using…. I would like to remove a lot of duplications and inefficiencies. We also want to identify potential software risks and create a vetting process for our teachers that gives them enough flexibility to be innovative but does not compromise student data.”
Additional information and individual district case studies can be found in the report, Best Practices in the Use of Data Analytics.
About Digital Promise and The League of Innovative Schools
Digital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn. The organization works at the intersection of education leaders, researchers, and technology developers to improve learning opportunities for all and close the digital learning gap. Because when all learners have equitable access to technology, when everyone participates, and when everyone learns, we all benefit from a more engaged, informed and just society. Learn more at DigitalPromise.org.
About Project Tomorrow®
Project Tomorrow® is a nationally recognized, education nonprofit organization with a focus on understanding the impact of new learning models and interventions on student outcomes and teacher effectiveness. Our mission is to help education, business and policy leaders make the best decisions for education through the effective use of research-based insights that highly leverage the authentic views and perspectives of K-12 stakeholders, notably students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Our work includes the highly regarded Speak Up Research Project and an annual series of customized evaluation, feedback and efficacy studies that examine key trends in education. Learn more at Tomorrow.org.