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 Unlocking Data to Eliminate Opportunity Gaps

The San Diego County Office of Education is working with school districts to use their student transcript data to transform mindsets and close achievement gaps.

Just looking at test scores or graduation rates tells educators there's a problem between how white and Asian students achieve versus African American and Hispanic students, students who are low income, and students learning English as a second language. However, it doesn't uncover the underlying problems or barriers that are preventing some students from accessing and graduating with the completed classes needed to attend a state university.

"Public education is about believing that all students can and should have access to the most rigorous coursework," said SDCOE Principal-in-Residence Erin Richison. "The supports and paths may look different based on what their needs are, but we, the adults, shouldn't be saying, 'You can't.'"

Richison and her team focus on equity and access at the County Office through their work with the Opportunity Gap Analysis​. Together with the SDCOE Integrated Technology Services division, they created software that analyzes student transcripts in order to shine a light on barriers to student success.

The Business Intelligence data dashboard used in the Opportunity Gap Analysis breaks down a school's student data into courses or subjects, and by student demographics, such as ethnicity, gender, parent's education level, and any special designations, such as redesignated English learner or special education.

For example, using the Business Intelligence Data Dashboard, a school leadership team could see which junior class students are only missing one class to meet University of California/California State University requirements. The dashboard also allows users to see what percentage of students is failing in each class.

The SDCOE Equity and Access team runs the numbers, evaluates the data dashboard with school leaders, and then helps the district or school develop and stick to a plan for creating access to the right courses and equitable supports for the students' success.

There is a waiting list for schools interested in undergoing an Opportunity Gap Analysi​​s. 

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The above image is a screenshot of the Business Intelligence Data Dashboard.