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Creating Sustainable School Improvement

  Decision-Making Information
  information resources and solutions
  (888) DMI-SOLN
  (888) 364-7656

Each year, in each school in each grade and in each class, a new group of students participate in a learning and development process in their education. In a given year and school, the collective outcomes from the process reflects the school's performance. How can we best measure that performance? What do those measures tell us? How can we use that information to improve school performance? Providing answers to these questions is the focus of our programs on creating sustainable school improvement in K-12 schools.

ProximityOne School Improvement Solutions

Our unique method to help school systems achieve order of magnitude and sustainable school improvement is centered on a data driven process. We make use of holistic cause and effect time series modeling. Elements of the process include these items.

  • Specification of Goals and Visions
  • Specification of ProximityOne Model
  • Develop & integrate required data
    - geocoded student data
    - attendance area geography/data
    - infrastructure data
    - demographics
    - performance measures
  • 5- & 10-year projections
  • Trend analysis
  • Visualization with CommunityViewer
  • Assess alternative performance outcomes
    - results of actions based on different tools
    - examination of alternative assumptions
  • Simulation and process validation
  • Report with deployment recommendations
  • Leave-behind process for continuing use

Should we expect a school to systemically improve from year to year? Maybe ... maybe not -- it depends substantially on the demographics of the students that make up the classes. In the short term, there is typically a "sameness" to the student demographics from year to year. But in areas with rapid change (or a sea-change resulting from a specific event) in the demographic make-up of the students, and their families, simply looking at test scores as a measure of performance assessment falls short of an adequate school performance measure.

School performance must be viewed in the context of the student demographics. Each student has different maturity, motivation, support, intelligence, and other relevant characteristics that affect how each will excel or benefit from a particular class.

Different schools draw students from different demographic pools/areas. The demographics of attendance areas for even adjacent schools/attendance areas often vary dramatically. To assess school performance, it is not enough to look at test scores or graduation rates when considering how school improvement can be improved.

Why assess school performance? Schools exist as a result of the investment of some group of people and institutions. We need to know about measures like return on investment in many respects just like a business. We need to have measures that give us better insights as to the performance on a continuum -- from sub-standard to superior.

Measures resulting from NCLB are fundamentally sub-standard themselves. These measures do not factor in the demographics of students and their families -- nor the demographics of the broader attendance area community. Insights that are generated might be useful, they might also provide fundamentally misleading indicators. We need to know why schools with sub-standard performance measures have these results and how they are trending.

Additional Information
Proximity develops geodemographic-economic data and analytical tools and helps organizations knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. We develop custom demographic/economic estimates and projections, develop geographic and geocoded address files, and assist with impact and geospatial analyses. Wide-ranging organizations use our tools (software, data, methodologies) to analyze their own data integrated with other data. Contact Proximity (888-364-7656) with questions about data covered in this section or to discuss custom estimates, projections or analyses for your areas of interest.

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