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MDUA Alliance

student reading a book in the library

Montana Data Use Alliance (MDUA)

The MDUA seeks to strengthen the use of data and research to improve dropout prevention efforts and high school graduation rates. A particular focus is supporting district implementation of early warning systems that identify at-risk students and support them to reach the finish line.

Originally established as a partnership among Montana’s seven largest (AA) districts, the MDUA has grown to include two dozen school districts and a number of state associations. Additionally, the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) participates in alliance activities to help coordinate state and district initiatives around dropout prevention.

Members work to improve the use of data systems by:

  • Building the capacity of district leaders, school principals, and teachers to use evidence to evaluate and improve dropout prevention efforts
  • Helping member districts understand the research base for a comprehensive approach to dropout prevention that includes diagnosis and targeted interventions
  • Examining existing data sources on student characteristics and program implementation
  • Analyzing correlations between student characteristics, student achievement, and dropout factors

The alliance’s activities include:

  • Publishing A Practitioner’s Guide To Implementing Early Warning Systems
  • Conducting an IES-published study examining enrollment and passing patterns in Montana Digital Academy (MTDA) courses, and producing a report highlighting four common strategies used by Montana schools that had high student passing rates in online credit recovery courses offered by the MTDA
  • Creating a series of interactive, online modules on early warning system fundamentals, data reporting, interventions, and evaluation
  • Holding workshops on identifying and using data to answer questions about students who drop out
  • Reviewing the comprehensiveness of district data and intervention strategies on reengaging dropouts
  • Developing a community of practice around using data to inform policy and practice
  • Assisting OPI in aligning state-level initiatives on dropout prevention with district programs and policies
  • Developing tools and resources to help districts use data to improve programs related to postsecondary readiness, collective impact, and dual enrollment