8 Characteristics of Data Quality for K-12
Data can be a difficult topic – mostly because we have so much of it. We spend a lot of time and energy working with data – but do we really understand what defines quality data? Let’s dive into eight characteristics of data quality to better understand how we can work towards enhancing data quality in school districts and educational organizations.
When data is accurate, it is correct in that it represents the truth about what is known. In other words, the data in the system mirrors the original source exactly. Data needs to be accurate due to the fact that so many important decisions rely on it – from funding to daily student interactions.
Data needs to be accessed easily by all users. Teachers spending time looking for info about a new student in their classroom wastes precious classroom resources. IT staff hunting down the right information to make accounts wastes time and money as well as slows down the whole process of on-boarding new students and teachers.
Data must be consistent between the systems. With dozens of apps in use throughout a school district, inconsistent data can lead to big losses in time and money. When data is not consistent, it affects the way the district runs. For example, when a name is different in the HR and SIS for a teacher, how do you know which one is correct?
We need all of the data, not just some it. Records that are incomplete create holes in the data. This could mean that some users do not have access to what they need because their record is incomplete. It also means that reporting and statistics within the district may not accurately reflect the current situation due to an incomplete record.
5: Currency and Timeliness
Data needs to be up-to-date and timely to be used in day to day operations of a school district. There can be legal consequences when users have access to data they should no longer see because they have left the district. Records need updated regularly and in a timely manner to ensure the data reflects the current moment of time.
Knowing your data is a big part of data quality. Users throughout the district need to understand what the different data points mean and what the data represents as well as why they are using the data.
All teachers, students, and staff in the district should only see the data they are legally allowed to have access to. This means that teachers should only see information about students they teach, students should only see their own data, and administrators should see data only relevant to them. Ensuring that users have data granularity enforced throughout the district helps to provide a safe learning environment for all of the users in the district.
Why look at data that means nothing to you? Users in the district should not have to sort through data that is irrelevant to them. The process of sorting through irrelevant data wastes time – something that school districts never have enough of. Ensuring data is relevant to the users is important to the success of students.