When students, parents, educators, and policymakers have the right information to make decisions, students excel. One of the most important sources of this information is education research. Here’s how policymakers at all levels can use resources from the Data Quality Campaign to invest in evidence-based decisionmaking to support student learning.
Strengthening Your Agency’s Capacity to Build and Use Evidence
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), policymakers have new flexibility to choose the types of evidence that best help them select resources and interventions suited to their communities’ needs. Here are resources to help you think about how to partner with education researchers and create a learning agenda:
- Opportunities to Make Data Work for Students in the Every Student Succeeds Act highlights new opportunities in ESSA to use evidence for decisionmaking.
- Roadmap for Effective Data Use and Research Partnerships between State Education Agencies and Education Researchers provides guidance for states and districts on how to create effective research-practice partnerships and make better informed policy decisions.
- Turning Data into Information: The Vital Role of Research in Improving Education explains how high-quality data can power meaningful research and includes examples of actionable research from around the country.
- Improving Education Outcomes by Building Data-Driven Relationships breaks down what researchers and state leaders should discuss to develop an effective partnership.
For even more resources on education research and evidence-based policymaking, see the Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice, and the Center for Education Policy Research.
Ensuring Your Educators and Researchers Have Secure Access to the Data They Need
Building evidence on what education programs and interventions work best requires that educators, policymakers, and researchers have secure, role-based access to the data they need to make decisions and the data literacy skills to understand and use that data. DQC offers numerous resources for states to think about data access and data literacy:
- Who Uses Student Data? shows how different people—from parents to school service providers to the public—have different access to various pieces of data.
- When Researchers Have Access to Data, Students Succeed paints of picture of why education research matters and how research helps students succeed.
- Ms. Bullen’s Data-Rich Year and Mr. Maya’s Data-Rich Year show what it looks like when teachers and school leaders have access to the data they need to serve their students.
- Roadmap for Cross-Agency Data Governance provides guidance on how states can govern their data systems and determine who needs access to what types of data to do their jobs.
- Teacher Data Literacy: It’s About Time offers recommendations to ensure teachers have the skills they need to use data effectively.
- Administrator Data Literacy Fosters Student Success illustrates how data-literate administrators create a culture of effective data use in districts and schools. States can learn more about their role in ensuring all administrators are empowered with the skills to make this happen.
For even more resources on education data literacy and access, see The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, and WestEd.
Modernizing Privacy Protections for Research
Data privacy is an essential component of effective data use and evidence-building. People won’t use and value data if they cannot trust that it is protected. Smart, comprehensive privacy protections can ensure that data is safeguarded without limiting important research. Here are resources on how to safeguard education data:
- Roadmap to Safeguarding Student Data provides specific, practical recommendations for education agencies to prioritize the safeguarding of student data and continuously review and update their data privacy policies and practices to address changes in technology.
- The Student Data Principles articulate core values and beliefs that any individual or agency with access to student education data can commit to following to help ensure the secure, ethical use of data.
- Education Data Legislation Review: 2018 State Activity provides an overview of recent state legislation on the privacy and use of education data.
For even more resources on safeguarding student data, see FERPA|Sherpa and the Privacy Technical Assistance Center and Family Policy Compliance Office at the US Department of Education.
Ensuring Your Data Systems Are Ready to Support Research
Conducting actionable research requires high-quality, timely, and accurate data. States must ensure their longitudinal data systems meet state and community needs, securely link data across the agencies that serve students, and are governed purposefully and transparently. Here are resources on securely linking data and governing data systems:
- Roadmap for Cross-Agency Data Governance provides guidance on how states can govern their data systems by collaborating across state agencies, engaging stakeholders, and creating clear and transparent policies and practices.
- The Art of the Possible: Data Governance Lessons Learned from Kentucky, Maryland, and Washington demonstrates how strong data governance in three states has enabled meaningful education research and informed policymaking.
- Roadmaps on linking K–12 education data systems with foster care, early childhood, postsecondary, and workforce systems provide step-by-step guidance on making sure data systems are connected in ways that support collaboration and evidence-based policymaking.
For even more resources on building robust, secure education data systems, see the Education Commission of the States, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the State Support Team at the US Department of Education.
Also published on Medium.