Communications, Federal Advocacy, Research, State Advocacy

COVID-19 Recovery Requires Education Data

COVID-19 Recovery Requires Education Data

As leaders at the local, state, and federal level weigh tough decisions during the COVID-19 crisis, they will need to prioritize data. From state leaders to those closest to students, no one should make decisions in the dark—especially during this unprecedented and unpredictable crisis. The following resources can help leaders use data to inform and guide recovery efforts at all levels.

Leveraging Education Data for COVID-19 Recovery

Promoting Transparency and Maintaining Public Trust: Report Cards and the COVID-19 Crisis: This resource shares short- and long-term action steps for state leaders to take as they work to release updated report cards this year. Leaders must release state report cards to inform local decisionmaking and recovery efforts, and they should consider how they can use their state’s report card to share updates on recovery efforts and ensure transparency moving forward.

Using Data to Understand What Works: Research and the COVID-19 Crisis: This resource discusses short- and long-term action steps that state and district leaders should take to ensure that research supports recovery, including adapting their state’s research agenda to answer the most pressing questions, mobilizing research partnerships and investing in building an effective research infrastructure.

Supporting Students While Learning at Home: Individual Student Data and the COVID-19 Crisis: This resource highlights short- and long-term actions education leaders must take to prioritize access to individual student data and empower those closest to students to use it to inform instruction and meet learners where they are.

Maintaining Trust as Data Use Changes: Student Data Privacy and the COVID-19 Crisis: This resource highlights short- and long-term actions state leaders can take to use and safeguard data responsibly as educators navigate online learning.

Early Childhood Data Systems: Responding to COVID-19 and Building for the Future: The need for early childhood data isn’t new, but the pandemic makes this information more important than ever. This brief explores the steps that state leaders can take to develop infrastructure, engage with communities, and leverage federal funds to support students in early childhood and beyond.

Ensuring Access to Data on Student Progress

Measuring Growth in 2021: What State Leaders Need to Know: States can and should continue to measure student growth in 2021; to do so, state leaders should start preparing now. This resource from the Data Quality Campaign, Alliance for Excellent Education and Collaborative for Student Success outlines considerations for measuring growth when missing annual assessment data for the prior year, discusses uses of this data, and lays out actions states can take right now to measure growth in 2021.

Education Leaders Must Not Be Data Gatekeepers: Regardless of the pandemic response a district chooses to implement, parent portals will be key to ensuring good communications and parent supports. By highlighting real-life best practices in creating parent portals, this resource demonstrates that recovery depends on parent access to information to help their children succeed.

Five Data Things States Should Think About Right Now: States are busy; leaders are working to provide students with a virtual education during the pandemic while dealing with budget cuts and other economic challenges. But as they move through this crisis and into recovery, these are the five data-related things they can—and should—think about right now.

Understanding the Federal Role in Recovery

Using the CARES Act to Strengthen Education Data Collection and Use: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act provides $30.75 billion in emergency aid to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early learning, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary programs. This brief details how states can and should consider using some of this federal funding to increase the capacity of their data infrastructure and address the wide array of challenges facing education leaders at every level.

Analysis: Recovery From Coronavirus Shutdowns Hinges on Good Data. What the Federal Government Can Do to Help States and Schools: In this analysis piece for The 74, DQC’s President and CEO Jenn Bell-Ellwanger outlines actions the federal government should take to help states address the challenges to the education landscape caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coalition Letter on the Importance of 2021 Assessments: This coalition letter, signed by DQC and 18 other organizations, urges the U.S. Department of Education to refrain from issuing waivers to states from statewide English Language Arts and math assessments for the 2020-2021 school year.

Data Quality Campaign Coalition Letter on COVID-19 Emergency Spending Legislation: This coalition letter, which was signed by DQC and nine other organizations and sent to federal legislators, outlines how Congress can help states and localities meet their students’ immediate and longer-term needs by renewing the federal commitment to promoting effective education data use.

Parent and Teacher Opinions about Education Data During the Pandemic

The Data Quality Campaign’s 2020 national polls were conducted in the midst of school closures and remote learning, seeking to better understand the experiences and needs of parents and teachers. The following resources detail what we heard from both parents and teachers during the pandemic.

Parents Want Data to Understand the Impact of School Closures and Support Recovery: Parents are clear: they need data to support their students, and they want more information—including assessment data—to understand the impact of school closures on student learning and to inform future recovery efforts.*

Teachers Want Data to Understand the Impact of Remote Learning and Training to Use It Effectively: Teachers, like parents, want data to better understand the impact of the crisis on student learning as well as the training and resources to use data effectively.**

Views from DQC’s Experts

DQC turned to its own bench of education experts to explore the role of data in understanding the current crisis and responding in ways that ensure all students can succeed.

The Role of Data in Understanding the Current COVID-19 Crisis: DQC Associate Director Abby Cohen interviewed President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger and three DQC Board Members to discuss what data they feel must be prioritized right now to answer key questions about the crisis and its impact on students. This blog post highlights thoughts from former CEO of Baltimore City Schools Andrés Alonso, University of Southern California Associate Professor of Education Morgan Polikoff, and Southern Regional Education Board President Stephen Pruitt.

The Role of Data in COVID-19 Recovery: The Educator Preparation Perspective: DQC Associate Director Abby Cohen interviewed DQC Board Member Cassandra Herring, president and CEO of the Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, about why data will be necessary to support teachers and the educator workforce amid recovery.

The Role of Data in COVID-19 Recovery: The Higher Education Perspective: DQC Associate Director Abby Cohen shares insights from her conversation with DQC Board Member José Luis Cruz, executive vice chancellor and university provost of the City University of New York, about how data can help higher education leaders support students as they transition from high school to college.

The Role of Data in COVID-19 Recovery: The Workforce Perspective: DQC Associate Director Abby Cohen shares insights from her conversation with DQC Board Member Tony Marshall, president of Innovative Systems Group, about the role of data in supporting workforce development and ensuring students can pursue the path that’s right for them.



*Online survey conducted within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Data Quality Campaign: April 28–May 1, 2020, among 1,725 parents of children ages 5–17 (1,565 whose children attend school).

**Online survey conducted within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of the Data Quality Campaign: April 27–May 8, 2020, among 750 full-time teachers in the United States, all of whom were currently employed teaching grades K–12.