Can good data drive school performance?
While this is a tremendous step forward by itself, there's even more here for those with some insider knowledge - people like Mike Cohen, who served with the Knox County Schools as Communications Director at the time when Bill Sanders was piloting his value-added system in that district. Mike pointed out that Knox County, as the pilot site for this innovative model, really bought into the system and continues to actively use that data to drive student achievement - and it's made a real difference in the performance of schools in the county.
Comparing the two makes a pretty compelling case: Davidson County's schools range across the spectrum, while Knox County schools are far more concentrated at the upper range of performance. Seems pretty clear that good data, used well, can drive student achievement.
Coming tomorrow: can Title I schools be highly effective?