By: John Sipple, Sean Brady and Andrew Tait.
School districts are under tremendous pressure to increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates and they are working diligently to do so. This white paper describes an emerging tool set, the cohort tracker. Data visualization software and easy access to accurate and up-to-date lists of each accountability cohort will allow school districts confidently to track each cohort’s graduation status—by total cohort, cohort subgroup and each cohort member—in order to intervene with students who are lagging or seriously at-risk and to ensure their successful graduation. The project is sponsored by Cornell University’s New York State Center for Rural Schools.
By: Sean Brady and Andrew Tait.
In the United States, accountability measures from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation have opened K-12 educators to the use of increasingly sophisticated improvement tools and processes. In their efforts to accelerate improvement in targeted areas, schools are turning to techniques such as data envelopment analysis (DEA). Specifically, school improvement teams in “under performing” schools want to know which high-performing schools are “just like them” and then to understand what they are doing to achieve that higher performance.
Statewide initiatives in Arizona and in New York State are using data envelopment analysis to identify benchmark, or best-in-class, schools. These benchmark schools complete self studies and, in some cases, are studied by researchers from higher educational institutions in order to identify their effective practices. The exchange of effective practices occurs in conferences, in peer-to-peer conversations and via the Web. K-12 educators are adding benchmarking to their school improvement toolkit.
By: Andrew Tait and Sean Brady.
Data Envelopment Analysis is a powerful tool for benchmarking to identify best practices and organizational inefficiencies. However, while the approach’s profile has been raised considerably over the past decade, it has failed to capture the attention of the majority of the potential users.
The world seems to run performance metrics, yet only a tiny portion of these are informed by the application of DEA. The rest leave the necessary synthesis of these metrics opened the vagaries of political opinion.
This paper explores some of the barriers to “mainstream” adoption of DEA. In doing so, it draws on personal experience of applying DEA in organizations, working with DEA practitioners and, most importantly, teaching DEA in government and commercial organizations.
A project from the education sector is used to illuminate many of the points raised in the paper.