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New DQC Report Calls on States to Make Education Data Work for Students

New DQC Report Calls on States to Make Education Data Work for Students

Data Quality Campaign releases policy recommendations for effective data use to support student learning


WASHINGTON—April 26, 2016— State policymakers should take advantage of the robust data provisions provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), to shift from a culture of compliance to using education data effectively to meet a student’s unique needs. A new report from the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), Time to Act: Making Data Work for Students, says that policymakers at every level can achieve this by following four policy priorities: measuring what matters, making data use possible, being transparent and earning trust, and guaranteeing access and protecting privacy.

Released today at a national summit featuring Reps. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, Colorado Commissioner of Education Richard Crandall, former Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday and other education and policy leaders from across the country, DQC’s new report emphasizes that when students, parents, educators and community partners have the right information to make the right decisions, students have the best chance to excel. Specifically, the report provides a set of recommendations for policymakers to transform data from a tool for compliance to one that fuels continuous improvement and achieves results, including state and district-based examples of how leaders have effectively used education data.

“When those closest to students have the right data, at the right time, in the right format, with the training and tools to use it well, students thrive,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, president and CEO of DQC. “Now that we have the information to support every student in the nation, we must act to ensure no student falls off the path to success.”

The recommendations outlined in the report take advantage of the robust longitudinal data systems that exist in every state and how the effective use of such data can allow for every student in the country to be provided a personalized learning experience that best fits his or her needs.

The report also highlights the importance of ensuring teachers and policymakers know how to use and understand data so they are able to make informed policy decisions on key education topics, such as early childhood education access, teacher quality, or college and career readiness.

The brief provides the following four recommendations for policymakers to enact:

Measure What Matters – Be clear about what students must achieve and have the data to ensure all students are on track to succeed, including by connecting data from early childhood through K–12 to postsecondary and the workforce.

  • Washington State has been successful in this policy area by having its Education Research and Data Center (ERDC) collaborate with parents, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders to identify and prioritize research and policy questions. The ERDC uses a variety of indicators based on state longitudinal data to answer these questions through published studies and reports. Developing measures of success based on multiple factors, in addition to statewide assessments, is also critical to demonstrating progress toward stated goals.


Make Data Use Possible – Provide teachers and leaders the flexibility, training, and support they need to effectively and quickly use data to support student outcomes. State leaders should push for policies that support districts and schools to prioritize data use.

  • Delaware has done this by investing in resources that give the state the capacity to analyze data about education outcomes, which then informs policy decisions. For example, the state’s research on teacher quality led to the proposition of Senate Bill 51, which required teacher preparation programs to raise admission standards and emphasized high-quality student teaching experiences.


Be Transparent and Earn Trust – Ensure every community understands how its schools and students are doing and how data is valuable, protected and used.

  • In Ohio, this is done using an online school report card platform that allows the public to access timely, high-quality and relevant information on districts and schools that is easy to navigate and provides clear ratings around issues including student performance, enrollment and graduation rates, and education funding.


Guarantee Access and Protect Privacy – Provide teachers and parents timely information on their students and make sure it’s kept safe.

  • For example, Indiana provides teachers, parents and students secure access to student data using Learning Connection, a platform that allows for teacher collaboration and helps teachers personalize learning to meet unique student needs. Meanwhile, Idaho has made protecting student data a top priority by passing the Student Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act in 2014.



Dakarai Aarons,, 202-393-7192

Julia Banks,, 202-884-7315


The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization leading the effort to bring every part of the education community together to empower educators, families and policymakers with quality information to make decisions that ensure students achieve their best. For more information, go to and follow us on Twitter @EdDataCampaign.