Elevate by Instructure

Los Angeles Unified School District

Transforming Data Quality Improvement and Saving Time with Elevate Data Quality

Los Angeles Unified - Case Study

Los Angeles, CA

600,000 Students

Adopted: 2016


Learn how Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the United States, used Elevate Data Quality to transform their data quality program by addressing their data challenges in a centralized and streamlined manner.

The Challenge

Founded in 1853, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) enrolls roughly 600,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade at 1,306 schools including 224 public charter schools. The boundaries spread over 720 square miles and include the mega-city of Los Angeles. LAUSD’s mission is to “ensure academic achievement and empower tomorrow's leaders.” They’ve proudly attained double-digit growth on the state Academic Performance Index (API), experienced an upward trend in graduation rates and improved other academic indicators.

When it came to district data, LAUSD had its challenges. The district had manual data quality reporting processes that lead to inaccurate data, as well as major discrepancies on how schools were entering and reporting data in multiple systems.

Key Insights

Los Angeles Unified School District eliminated manual reports with a centralized process, and now delivers automated bi-weekly notifications of data errors to each school.

LAUSD has reduced response time to resolve data errors and saved thousands of hours saved on a weekly basis.

The district has dramatically improved data accuracy resulting in a reduction in state reporting errors.

New Imperative for Accurate Data

When LAUSD implemented a new student information system (SIS), as with many new SIS implementations, it revealed data quality issues. “Bringing data together from multiple systems into our new student information system, we could see that there were inconsistencies once the data was centralized,” said Marissa Tamayo, LAUSD Data Quality Team Lead.

Previously, schools in the district had been working with multiple SIS systems each with its own process for data entry and reporting. To locate data errors, schools would manually run custom reports. This was difficult to report and track. In addition, the district’s oversight group would notify each school by fax machine of data issues they had located.

The Solution

It was imperative to gain the support of those who worked with the data so Diane Pappas, CEO of Strategic Planning and Digital Innovation for LAUSD, enlisted the help of the district’s Office of Data and Accountability (ODA) to collaborate on finding a solution to the problem. They were determined to find a solution that would address their data challenges in a centralized manner.

Having learned about Elevate Data Quality (formerly Certify) from other districts in California, the team decided to implement the data quality solution. Elevate Data Quality is a rules-based application that could monitor the quality of the data in their SIS such as enrollment, attendance, discipline, special ed and much more.

Elevate Data Quality automated the district’s data validation process, monitoring critical fields and automatically generated bi-weekly error reports through an easy-to-read scorecard that was emailed to each school.

With the help of Elevate Data Quality, the LAUSD data quality program has been dramatically improved.

“Everything is in one place. We now push error reporting to the schools. Everything is now automatic,” according to Marissa Tamayo. The ODA established a district-wide process with each school assigned a coordinator to monitor their incoming reports and correct their data. They also can now load the errors from state reporting files directly into Elevate Data Quality, reconcile them with district source data and push them out to the schools. The new process ensures that data is corrected quickly and with fewer manual interventions.

The Results

According to Diane Pappas, “I was concerned about rolling out another product so soon after our SIS implementation. I was delighted that at a critical time when we were having difficulty, Elevate Data Quality did not cause any angst and solved our problem.” Not only did Elevate resolve the data quality issues and save thousands of hours of time across the district, LAUSD was able to generate an ad hoc dashboard and can now follow summary level trends which is beneficial for a complete view of the district. “We had 30 data validation rules to start and have since expanded to 105 rules. We saw so much potential and there is a lot of excitement about how we can extend our data quality program even further,” said Marissa Tamayo.

Gary Sabia, Program Director of the MiSiS Project for LAUSD, echoed that sentiment. "Data drives our business. From student achievement to funding to program support. If our data is inaccurate, we are losing opportunities that support our students and the administration. With Elevate Data Quality, we can now maximize our potential for success,” said Sabia.

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