Topic Guides

DQC is dedicated to building knowledge and developing resources that advance the effective use of education data. Explore the following topic guides to dive deeper into specific areas of interest.

Data Literacy 101

When educators have secure access to meaningful data, and the time and training to use this data effectively, students and schools succeed. This page showcases resources that leaders at every level can use to build their understanding of data literacy, and the actions that must be taken to meet the needs of educators and make data use a more seamless part of the school day and year.

How Effective Data Use Fuels District Turnarounds

Data is a powerful tool for the adults supporting students in schools and districts. Urban, rural, and suburban districts have experienced dramatic turnarounds in student outcomes due to data-driven strategies and strong leadership. DQC’s profiles of various districts share what this work looks like in schools across the country and how leaders can replicate examples of effective data use in service of student success.

Parent and Teacher Opinions of Education Data

Since 2014, DQC has conducted public opinion research to better understand how parents and teachers think about education data. Since 2016, we have been asking parents and teachers directly, through polls completed by The Harris Poll, to share their opinions on important issues in education data – from access to privacy. The findings from this research inform the resources we create and the recommendations we make to ensure policies and practices related to education data are serving the needs of those closest to students.

Student Success in CTE Starts with Data

Policymakers have responded to students’ and families’ interests in career and technical education (CTE) by creating strong workforce goals that align with pathways to these programs. But without data on the quality and outcomes of CTE programs, students and the adults who support them are left to make decisions about these opportunities in the dark. DQC’s resources show how policymakers can take the next step in supporting student success in CTE by creating the secure linkages necessary to collect and publicly report data that answers important questions about the pathways available.

Shining a Light on the Power of School-Spending Data

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are required to publish school-level spending data on report cards. As most states have previously only published district-level spending data, this is a powerful mandate and has the potential to provide important data to stakeholders at all levels that can be used to support students. But state leaders must go beyond compliance by sharing this information side by side with student outcomes data and equipping leaders with it throughout the year – rather than only in report cards, as required by law.

How Data Can Support Student Success from Early Learning to Workforce

No two students have the same path to and through school and work. Each has their own strengths and goals that inform the education and workforce options they pursue. And each deserves to achieve success on the path they’ve chosen. That’s where data comes in. The following are resources from DQC that policymakers can use to ensure students and families have the data they need to make decisions along their journey.

Why It Matters to Look at Students’ Assets, Instead of Focusing on Deficits

Conscious or not, how we talk about a problem gives away a lot about how we view the solution. While state leaders have outlined bold equity goals to improve the outcomes of all students, these goals can’t be met if the data used to measure and support them reflect conscious or unconscious bias. To help those closest to students understand what this means and their role in addressing it, DQC’s blog series examines how we can shift the way we talk and how we think about today’s education issues to ensure the success of every student.

Show Me the Data: DQC’s Annual Analysis of State Report Cards

Since 2016, DQC has looked at report cards for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and published our analysis in Show Me the Data. We do this because report cards should provide parents and the public with information about the outcomes of students and schools in their state. But if information that helps paint the full picture of student success and school quality is missing, hard to find, or impossible to understand, families are left in the dark. Here are the resources that can help states use report cards as a tool to prioritize continuous improvement.

ESSA Resources to Make Data Work for Students

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) charged states with developing high-quality education goals that further the outcomes of all students. Regardless of the goals outlined in your state’s ESSA plan, data is needed to measure progress and identify best practices. DQC created a series of resources that shine a light on how states can use data to meet these different education goals and support student success.

Using Data to Strengthen Your Teacher Pipeline

Teachers are the most important in-school factor when it comes to student achievement and states are tackling big issues like teacher diversity and teacher retention to make sure every child has access to a great teacher. But to make this vision a reality, state and local leaders need access to the right data to make informed policy and practice decisions. Here are resources to help state policymakers and advocates as they think about the unique needs of their teacher pipeline.

Resources to Support 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 DQC to invest in evidence-based decisionmaking to support student learning.

The Art of the Possible in Action

Leaders do not need to start from square one to make data work for students. By modeling concrete examples of effective data use, state and district leaders can utilize lessons learned and avoid unintended consequences. The following are success stories, case studies, and interviews from DQC that demonstrate the art of the possible and should serve as a starting point for leaders looking to put data to work for students in their communities.