The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) collects data from school districts for reporting and policy analysis, turning that data into information which can improve educational outcomes is a common challenge. To address that challenge, and to support Governor Patrick’s top-level education goal, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education (EOE) launched the secure and FERPA-compliant Edwin Platform which is comprised of Edwin Analytics and Edwin Teaching and Learning .
Edwin Teaching and Learning is an instructional improvement system which provides curriculum units and maps, assessment item banks and digital content, including Learning Media from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS); all tied to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, including the Vocational Technical Frameworks. These tools for educators and policy makers are intended to personalize education, help students improve and reach their achievement goals, and help to close the “achievement gap”.
Edwin Analytics is a component of the Edwin system which provides authorized users (teachers and district personnel) access to new views of student data, as well as to information for and about educators which support planning and decision-making in classrooms, schools, and districts. Edwin Analytics is unique because it integrates longitudinal data from pre-kindergarten through public post-secondary education to give educators a richer, more comprehensive view of student trends, performance, and outcomes. (Longitudinal data tracks information on the same student at multiple points in time, allowing for accurate and long term analyses.) The resulting reports, dashboards and analytical tools can provide educators statewide – from superintendents to teachers – with information and knowledge to make important decisions which continually improve teaching and learning across the state.
Edwin connects 80,000 educators, from state agency analysts to classroom teachers, with near-real-time information about students in close to 2,000 public schools. Information spanning up to 20 years is available with up-to-date data on the current one million active (and three million total) students.
More than 20 data sources are integrated in Edwin. Its sophisticated functionality enables quick, easy creation of 60+ parameter-driven reports. Educators get a more comprehensive view of student trends, performance, and outcomes than ever before via a single system. The breadth and depth of information available through Edwin is unprecedented in MA, and perhaps the nation.
The included Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) is one of the nation’s first to show indicators for students from grades 1- 12, instead of only at the high school level. An early warning indicator system provides a methodological way of looking at students and their likelihood of meeting specific academic goals (expected student outcomes). Across the country, early indicators are becoming an increasingly important tool for educators to better design and target student interventions. EWIS is intended to be a tool for educators to use (in conjunction with other data and sources of information) to better target student supports and interventions. (Traditionally, early warning systems were most often implemented at the high school level to help predict which students are most likely to drop out.)
Greater access to information is already resulting in positive outcomes. A Pre-K analysis on the impact of early education from Kindergarten through grade three is focusing policy and funding discussions around public pre-K and Kindergarten assessments. In Classrooms, analyses of multi-year performance trends and annual snap-shots of current students from grade one through high school gives teachers information to improve teaching strategies while students are in their classrooms. In virtually every district which is making strong gains in reducing the drop-out rate, educators use EWIS as a key part of their work in preventing drop-outs. Trends relating to Advanced Placement (AP) coursework and assessments scores with levels of post-secondary remedial coursework are driving educators’ work to better prepare students for college and minimize the need for costly, time-consuming remedial coursework. Edwin is also improving programs for adults (to better prepare them for college and the workforce) and influencing drop-out recovery work.
Edwin informs planning and decision-making across the Massachusetts state education environment enabling the impact of strategies, programs, and policies to be understood more quickly and effectively than ever before.
Using Edwin, classroom teachers, principals, professional support personnel and district leaders are able to access data from a wide range of sources. The sources include attendance, course enrollment, the student’s growing acquisition of new knowledge, skills and abilities, and college matriculation. The platform will also aim to offer educators access to compelling print and multi-media resources (aligned with current Massachusetts learning standards) which can improve educators’ practices and programs.
For more information, please visit the Edwin page on Mass.gov.
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