For Immediate Release - May 27, 2014

Data Challenge Opens State Education Data To Find A+ Insights

Launch Event on May 28th at hack/reduce Brings Together Policy Leaders, Education Specialists, and Data Analysts to Dive into Comprehensive Trove of Education Data

BOSTON – The Mass EduData Challenge, a six week data challenge aimed at acquiring unique insights from a comprehensive cache of Massachusetts education data, will launch at hack/reduce in Cambridge on May 28th. The goal of this inaugural data challenge is to drive better insight and understanding from historical data sets provided by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Analysis of these data sets and potential relationships to external data will help to better inform the Commonwealth’s decisions around education policy. Insights may include the illustration of the relationships between educational funding and student success, insight into statewide tests scores, or the distribution and predictability of certain educational outcomes. 

The kickoff will focus on a deep dive into the data itself, the forming of data challenge teams, identifying potential team mentors, and a presentation from event organizers on the goals of the data challenge, which will run from May 28th until July 8th, culminating with an awards ceremony event at hack/reduce. The kick-off event on May 28th will feature local data enthusiasts, education specialists, policy analysts, and other stakeholders from around the Commonwealth, who will receive background and guidance from education domain experts, begin to form their teams and construct project outlines, and work with on-hand technical advisers from industry and the public sector.

The event, part of the Commonwealth’s Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, is being organized in partnership by DESE, the office of the Government Innovation Officer of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. In addition to the event organizers, sponsors include hack/reduce and industry backers including HubSpot and Socrata.

WHAT: The Mass EduData Challenge: Visualizing, Exploring, & Informing the Future of Massachusetts Education

Kickoff event featuring event organizers, participants, and industry mentors. Participants will hear about the goals of the project, receive an overview of the data, and will build teams for the competition. Media will be able to meet and interview participants and organizers throughout the evening.

WHEN: May 28, 2014, 7 p.m.; Speaking program starts at 7:15 p.m.

WHERE: hack/reduce, 275 Third Street, Cambridge, MA  02142                       

WHO: Tony Parham, Government Innovation Officer, Information Technology Division
Patrick Larkin, Director, Innovation Institute at MassTech
Sharon Wright, Chief Information Officer, Executive Office of Education (EOE)
Jeff Wulfson, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE)
Industry representatives from HubSpot and Socrata

CONTACT: Brian Noyes, Communications Manager 
Massachusetts Technology Collaborative
P: 508-870-0312 x 293
C: 206-755-1509


About the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Innovation Institute

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry, and government. From improving our health care systems and expanding high-speed internet across the state to fostering emerging industry clusters, MassTech is driving innovation and supporting a vibrant economy across the Commonwealth. The Innovation Institute at MassTech was created in 2003 to improve conditions for growth in the innovation economy by enhancing industry competitiveness, promoting conditions which enable growth; and providing data and analysis to stakeholders in the Massachusetts innovation economy that promotes understanding and informs policy development. 

About the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, one of the constituent agencies in the Governor’s Executive Office of Education, oversees the Commonwealth’s K-12 public schools and districts. Its mission is to is to strengthen the Commonwealth's public education system so that every student is prepared to succeed in post secondary education, compete in the global economy, and understand the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, and in so doing, to close all proficiency gaps.

About the Office of the Government Innovation Officer of Massachusetts

Created by Executive Order 542 in March 2012, the Office of the Government Innovation Officer (OGIO) works to improve the experience with state government for residents, businesses and municipalities. OGIO works to boost internal government efficiencies and to leverage technology to improve government services. Additional OGIO information can be viewed at "Continuous innovation for a more productive Commonwealth.”

About the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative:

In response to industry insights gained through Secretary Bialecki and MassTech’s technology roundtable series, Governor Patrick announced the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative (Mass Big Data) at MIT in May of 2012. The Massachusetts Big Data Initiative is designed to leverage and expand the Commonwealth’s position as a global leader in the rapidly growing big data sector.

Through the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has initiated efforts aimed at expanding the region’s global leadership and fully exploiting the Mass Big Data sector’s economic potential over the next three to five years. The Massachusetts Big Data Initiative supports efforts to drive growth in the regional big data ecosystem through four strategic imperatives: raising awareness, enhancing the skilled workforce, fueling collaborative innovation, and advancing open access to public data. Additional information available at: