If you’ve spent any time around children, you’ve likely heard “That’s not fair!” shouted a time or two. Kids are obsessed with fairness–one extra goldfish cracker in their sibling’s plastic snack time bowl and tears ensue. As we age and become slightly wiser, we come to the understanding that life doesn’t traffic in fairness. And in education, we scorn fairness in favor of equity, or providing opportunities that meet students where they are.
Providing equitable opportunities in education takes on many forms, as the needs of students are not the same. Whereas one student may need additional academic support to help mitigate the effects of a learning disability, another may need food assistance as they struggle to make ends meet. Others just need to have their way of being in the world acknowledged by others. Needs have to be seen before they can be met and the data can often provide us with the vision we need.
Aggregate data is essential for program evaluation and development–accreditors require it and it’s often a great first step when looking for any successes or areas for improvement in our students or curriculum. However, aggregate data can work to ignore or cover up the stories of our most vulnerable students. It can lull us into the sense that the river is flowing along and students are achieving as much as possible. Additionally, most programs are overwhelmed with the requirements of accreditation and don’t have the time to dig in beyond aggregate reports.
As a decision support platform, Enflux is proud of our ability to deliver clean data from multiple sources, ready for decision making, in a central location. Further, it does so on a regular schedule, providing clean, actionable data and views that allow for analysis and identification of at-risk students on a weekly-basis. Faster identification leads to faster intervention, allowing us to provide equity at the point of need, not months later. With Enflux, aggregate data is the beginning of our dashboards, not the end.
Meagan Mielczarek, Ph.D.
Head of Education and Assessment at Enflux