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Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Data Management

5 Top Reasons You Need a Data Management System for CTE

February 8th, 2024 | 8 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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As an administrator for a career and technical education (CTE) program, tracking and reporting on teacher and student data can be overwhelming. Between managing lists with student grades and organization participation, keeping track of certification rates, and ensuring accurate data reporting, there’s a lot to keep track of. 

However, if you’re frustrated by the data you’re managing, your current solution might not be enough to ensure that critical CTE data is collected, organized, and reported simply and accurately. You may need a data management system to control the reporting process better. 

In this article, we’ll consider five top reasons why you could need a data management system for your CTE program: 

  1. Your data is messy. 
  2. You don’t know which data is most accurate. 
  3. You can’t track data across different programs or schools. 
  4. Each school tracks data differently. 
  5. You’re unsure about reporting your data. 

After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of some of the problems CTE administrators face in managing data so you can decide if a data management solution could be right for you. 

 

1. Your data is messy.

Is your data here, there, and everywhere? One of the most obvious signs that your current data management solution might not be effective is a messy set of data that’s difficult for your team (or even yourself!) to understand. Everyone likes a clean set of data where each field contains a precise number. But this isn’t always the case between using paper and pencil, various spreadsheets and databases, and reporting in multiple places. 

When this occurs, it’s possible that you or other teachers and administrators aren’t keeping track of the data in the same place. You end up spending precious time trying to make sense of your data rather than having a reliable database that’s easy to access and use. If your data stays disorganized, the amount of time you spend deciphering your data compounds itself as your team repeats the same exercise over and over again. 

Worse still, your data could be completely disorganized, opening the door for inaccurate counts and reporting. Messy data is characterized by these types of errors, which makes it difficult for administrators and other stakeholders in a CTE program to make informed decisions regarding programs, certifications, industry partnerships, and other opportunities. They also make programs vulnerable to being unable to report accurate data to educational agencies, jeopardizing their compliance with state requirements. 

 

2. You don’t know which data is most accurate.

While sloppy data may be the first sign that you need a CTE data management system, a second stems directly from it: when your data is a mess, chances are you don’t know for sure which set of data is the most accurate. 

Since CTE teachers and administrators often keep track of data in different places, such as spreadsheets, online reporting tools, or even by hand in notebooks and filing cabinets, it can be hard to know for sure which set of data is the most recent and correct. 

When you aren’t keeping track of your data in a secure digital location, the chance for error is obvious: paper charts and files can easily be misplaced or lost, and they are often stored in a specific location that’s difficult for your entire team to access. 

However, many educators encounter the same problem using digital records. If you’re using spreadsheets to keep track of data, there’s the chance that different team members have separate versions of a document. This increases the chance that critical figures are double counted or omitted entirely. With multiple editors, you might not have a single database to verify the correct data for reporting purposes. 

 

3. You can’t track data across multiple schools or programs.

If you work in a larger CTE program or school district, there are additional problems you may experience that could lead you to consider a better data management solution. These challenges may arise even if your data at the individual school building or program level is entirely accurate. 

Many CTE administrators struggle to track data across multiple schools or programs. With each institution operating on its own system, stakeholders at the district level may lack the technology they need to view multiple programs simultaneously. 

Without a unified data management system in place, there is no way to compare and contrast the performance of different schools and their students side by side. This leads to frustration and additional time spent reaching out to individual schools, obtaining access to different databases, and completing the painstaking process of comparing individual statistics by hand. 

 

4. Each school tracks data differently.

A fourth reason you may need a data management system is the simple fact that in many districts, each school or CTE program tracks data differently. 

While ideally every school keeps tabs on the same numbers and accurately reports each figure, the reality is that this isn’t always the case. In fact, the numbers that individual teachers and building administrators report might not even be the same within the same school district. 

Especially in larger districts, separate entities may use a variety of metrics to measure student success and performance. This is why it’s important to consider a data management system to more accurately ensure that each school keeps track of the right metrics you need for state reporting and compliance. 

With a data management system, you’re better able to ensure that you have all the data you need, from every school in the district. That way, you’ll be able to ensure that your entire CTE program is aligned with its goals and stays on track to achieving its goals for student success. 

 

5. You’re unsure about reporting your data.

Each of these potential problems with data management can lead to a final one for CTE administrators: you could be uncertain and even worried about the prospect of complying with state regulations for data reporting. 

Every CTE program is required to report performance data to your state department of education accurately. Often, this involves inputting certain figures in precise locations on a government website. While this sounds straightforward in theory, the combination of disorganized data, finding accurate numbers for multiple programs, and ensuring that you have the most accurate numbers for each school in your district could turn this into a daunting task. 

Since reporting and managing data is a critical part of your role as an administrator, you want to make sure you do this with as much care and accuracy as possible. But when there are discrepancies in how your data is tracked and organized, it can be hard for you to be confident in the data you’re reporting. 

Ultimately, you may need a data management system to ensure your CTE figures are accurately and precisely reported to the appropriate agencies. 

 

Ensure Accuracy with a CTE Data Management Solution

When you’re faced with accurately managing and reporting data for your CTE program, you could be frustrated and unsure how to proceed. After all, with so many schools to report on and statistics to verify, how can you be certain that you’re complying with state requirements to provide precise measurements of student progress and success? 

Thankfully, there’s a better way to track all your data with a single solution that makes reporting simple. When you rely on a dedicated CTE data management system to keep track of your figures, you can be confident that you have reliable data for reporting and decision-making. 

To help streamline the data collection and management process, Many CTE programs have turned to Eduthings to help streamline the data collection and management process. As a robust data management system, Eduthings integrates with Student Information Systems (SIS) to simplify data entry and create specialized reports. 

Could Eduthings be the right data management system for your CTE program? Read more about Eduthings to help you decide:

What Is Eduthings?