How a dashboard can improve the quality of teachers

The University of North Carolina has developed a customizable dashboard to identify problems in how the state trains teachers for its public school system.

dashboard-teacher-qualityFaced with an alarming decline in both the number and quality of teachers in the North Carolina public school system, the University of North Carolina has developed a data-driven dashboard to provide immediate visibility into what’s working—and what’s not—in the state’s teacher-preparation programs.

Developed in partnership with SAS, the North Carolina-based software giant, the dashboard was a key recommendation of the UNC Board of Governors Subcommittee on Teacher and School Leader Quality.

“What emerged from the work of that subcommittee was the need for us to be far more transparent about the research and data that we have on these critical issues in North Carolina,” said Alisa Chapman, UNC vice president for academic and university programs.

Since 2010, enrollment in colleges of education across the UNC system has declined by 27 percent. “We’re the single largest supply source of teachers for the 115 or so school districts across our state,” said Chapman, who noted that the dashboard helps bring these critical declines into stark relief. “As a university system, we need to help the state be less dependent on supply sources that do not yield the quality of teachers and school leaders that meet our expectations.”

The Educator Quality Dashboard, as it’s known, was built in seven months using the SAS Visual Analytics tool. While many higher ed dashboards are intended only for administrators, the Educator Quality Dashboard is geared to the needs of stakeholders at every level of the state’s teacher-preparation programs.

“The dashboard is a really good tool for a range of stakeholders in our state, including legislators and policy makers in Raleigh, State Board of Education members, and certainly members of the UNC Board of Governors,” said Chapman. “In addition, we think that it’s an invaluable tool for teacher educators in our colleges of education, and certainly practitioners in our public schools.”

(Next page: The dashboard’s metrics; judging value)

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