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Using Data and Assessment to Speed the Transition to Digital Learning: Lessons from the Field


Erin Frew, Principal, New Tech West High School (Cleveland, OH)
Stephen Lazar, Teacher, Harvest Collegiate High School, New York City Public Schools (NY)
Christine Johns, EdD, Superintendent, Utica Community Schools (MI)
Scott Smith, EdD, Chief Technology Officer, Mooresville Graded School District (NC)
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

The Alliance for Excellent Education held the fourth in its series of webinars for Project 24. This webinar provided an overview of how increased use of data to inform instructional, programmatic, and policy decisions can help school leaders in transitioning to a digital learning environment.

Across the nation, education is experiencing rapid changes driven by new understandings of formative and summative assessments, innovative ways to use data, and emerging practices around analytics. Assessment, data, and data analytics are critical aspects of digital learning. As school leaders participate in the Project 24 planning process, they have the opportunity to examine the extent to which their districts are able to collect, analyze, and organize data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning. Data is the building block of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments, all of which are key elements in a system where learning is personalized, individualized, and differentiated to ensure learner success.

The Project 24 panel of experts, an experienced group of nationally recognized leaders with records of success, will share how they successfully integrated data and assessment into their efforts to create personalized, learner-centered environments. Scott Smith spoke of the widely recognized efforts in Mooresville, North Carolina, which managed a digital transition in a way that increased high school graduation rates without increasing per-pupil spending, while Erin Frew described the ways that the innovative New Tech West High School in Cleveland is able to see powerful results with a highly at-risk population. Christine Johns shared her perspective on leading the charge for change in Michigan’s Utica Community Schools, and Stephen Lazar provided his experience from the classroom.

Panelists also discussed key areas of data and assessment, including a culture of evidence-based decisionmaking; online assessment and data systems to support the data culture; data- and assessment-literate staff; and adaptive learning and analytics. Bob Wise, president of the Alliance and former governor of West Virginia, moderated the discussion.

Supplemental Material

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century.
Follow the Alliance on Twitter at; Facebook at; and the Alliance’s “High School Soup” blog at

An initiative of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Project 24 is an urgent call to action on the need for systemic planning around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of career and college readiness for all students. It is a one-stop shop of comprehensive district-level planning tools, expert advice, creative ideas, and tangible suggestions from experienced education experts and nonprofit education membership organizations. here
Follow Project 24 on Twitter at @All4edProject24.

Categories: Digital Learning Series, Gear: Data & Assessment

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