Closing the Gap: Using Student Data to Improve Teaching

Contacts: Kitty Porterfield,, 703-774-6953
Michael Kaplun,, 202-822-9491
Andrew Spender,, 203-316-3286

Gartner, AASA and CoSN Provide New Resources on Schools’ Use of Data

WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2013 – In collaboration with AASA, The School Superintendents Association and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Gartner, Inc., has released a series of district case studies and videos that demonstrate best practices for school districts seeking to improve student achievement through data use. These new resources have been developed to support tools recently released by the three organizations to help schools and districts nationwide use student data to strengthen teaching and learning in the classroom.

Today, school districts already have large amounts of information (including standardized test results) about students that can be used by teachers to individualize instruction, student by student. Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action provides districts assistance in finding practical systems that organize this data in an easily understood way for teachers and readily available during the school day. The case studies showcase district successes and lessons learned by six school systems and include key findings and recommendations for use by other systems.

School districts cited in the case studies are:
• Fairfax County Public Schools (Va.), a system that is already reaping the benefits of an 11-year investment in transitioning to a data-driven environment.
• Ft. Bend Independent School District (Tx.), where system and process integration now contribute to more closely aligning curriculum with test results.
• Henry County Schools (Ga.), where a partnership between technology and curriculum leaders and teachers is addressing the challenge of getting data into the hands of teachers and students.
• Katy Independent School District (Tx.), a system that has used a number of data systems, and data coaches, to help teachers obtain and use data in the classroom.
• Richmond Public Schools (Va.), where a homegrown legacy student information system has been successfully replaced to support data-driven instruction.
• Sanger Unified School District (Calif.), a system using Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to guide collaboration for increased use of data and assessment tools.

Companion videos for Katy ISD, Henry County Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools provide further insights into each district’s work towards turning data into action.

“This partnership continues to add valuable resources for schools and districts to use as they become more and more proficient at harnessing data to drive classroom instruction,” said AASA executive director Daniel Domenech. “These case studies offer concrete examples of the benefits to students from the effort. It is exciting to watch this work move forward.”

“For educators to fully realize the benefits of data systems, it is instructive for them to understand how they are being used to advance educational goals in school districts across the country,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “These case studies and videos are another important part of a suite of resources designed to do just that, and we are pleased to partner with AASA and Gartner to advance the dialogue on the effective use of data.”

“The case studies and videos illustrate how school districts can leverage the contributions of administrative, instructional and technology resources to inform and improve classroom practice based on information rather than intuition,” said Bill Rust, Gartner Research Director. “These stories compliment other resources that have resulted from the joint AASA, CoSN and Gartner effort and made available to all US schools at the Closing the Gap website.”

The case studies and videos can be found at Other Closing the Gap project resources available to the K-12 educational community can be found under the Resources tab of the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action website at All resources are free to the K-12 educational community.

Closing the Gap is funded through the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit Follow AASA on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About CoSN
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, policy and advocacy, membership, and resources.

About Gartner, Inc.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,500 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Gartner has extensive experience assisting K-12 and higher education organizations address opportunities and business challenges utilizing information technology. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,600 associates, including 1,250 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 80 countries. For more information, visit

# # # # #