The School District of Philadelphia had these issues in mind when they started searching for an analytics solution in April of 2016. The district’s leadership was limited in their ability to access and monitor school performance data, such as attendance, in time to affect in-year student outcomes. Principals received their school accountability data (School Progress Report) 6 months post school year, leaving no ability to enact real-time
proactive intervention.The District had a clear vision of bringing more real-time data into the hands of principals, both to proactively address issues and to be more strategic in policy and intervention recommendations. The vision would ultimately make student climate data (attendance and suspensions) accessible, in parallel with test scores, reading level data, graduation rates and college matriculation data – all aligned to district goals and business rules. The District also wanted to correlate historical and current year data to better understand trends and plan for programs and policies that would improve the District’s goal achievement.
After an RFP process led by the District Performance Office (DPO), Qlik was chosen since it had everything DPO envisioned needing in one solution, including ETL and data modeling built into the platform. The initial roll out was executed with Qlik partner IPC Global and focused on addressing the most complex data models around student climate data and reading level data. Once the data models and visualizations were ready, principals were trained ahead of the school year to enable monthly and quarterly conversations with district leadership and assistant superintendents. This collaborative sharing of real-time data and proactive conversations between the groups helped achieve better alignment on individual school and district level goals that map to a multi-year plan.
“Using Qlik changed the conversation and made the data that impacts student performance real and actionable for principals.” - Keren Zuniga McDowell, Director of District Performance, The School District of Philadelphia
With the student climate and reading level data as a base for monthly/quarterly meetings, further data sets such as report cards and state assessment test scores were made available on their regular calendar cadence. For the relevant stakeholders this widened the picture of student performance throughout the year to give a 360 degree view of the student population.
There are approximately 240 schools in the district, grouped into networks, along with an additional 80-90 charter schools that have their own data sets. Modeling all that data into a citywide view wasn’t easy before Qlik. DPO is also now able to pull in multiple year data sets, which has expanded the possibilities for early intervention with student populations. It’s well known that ninth grade is a pivotal year for student long term success, and with data now available from the 8th grade feeder schools, educators and administrators together can design and execute early intervention programs to head off issues before it’s too late. This visibly also allows the school district to engage the public and families on the importance of these programs backed by data.
Having a new depth of data available, with the ablity to disaggregate sub groups more easily at the school level, is vital for the district. ESSA requirements for federal reporting will require all schools with subgroups of 20 or more students in categories such as economically disadvantaged, English language learners, special education, race and gender to report on their subgroup status and progress. Having Qlik in place will make meeting these reporting requirements as simple as a few clicks.
DPO also uses Qlik to share data publicly through the new web-based “School Profiles” The new site gives a more full picture of the current year’s enrollment data as compared to the previous school year, and data on key performance indicators, for parents, school district partners, and the Philadelphia City Council, to share in one common set of data around student and school performance.
With Qlik now in place for a full academic year (went live in August 2017), the District envisions eventually widening data visibility available through Qlik to school leadership teams and teachers at each school throughout the district.