P-20W Data, Research, State Advocacy, Transparency

Evidence-Based Decisionmaking in States

Evidence-Based Decisionmaking in States

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:

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:

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:

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.