Why Education Data?

All students deserve a great education, one that affords every opportunity for them to grow into knowledgeable and successful adults. But every student has a unique background, unique strengths, and a unique path to college and a career. Everyone who has a stake in education—especially families and educators—needs the right data in the right format at the right time to serve our students along their unique journeys.

When students, parents, educators, and partners have the right information to make decisions, students excel.

What does it mean to use data in service of student learning?

Data is one of the most powerful tools to inform, engage, and create opportunities for students along their education journey—and it‘s much more than test scores. Data helps us make connections that lead to insights and improvements. Everyone has an important role to play in helping all students succeed in their own individualized ways.

Here’s what it will look like when data is working for all students:


“I know my strengths and where I need to grow. I can shape my own education journey.”


“I know what actions to take to help my child on her path to success. I can be a better champion for her.”


“I know where my students are succeeding and struggling right now. I can help them grow.”

School Leaders

“I know what’s working and what isn’t in my school. I can make timely decisions and make sure resources support great teaching and improve student learning.”

Afterschool Partners

“I know what’s happening with these kids before 3:00 p.m. I can help families and communities create more opportunities for students to succeed.”

Download this information as an infographic:
Data Can Help Every Student Excel (PDF)

What Is Student Data?

There are many types of data that support student learning. Academic and demographic information—as well as information from assessments, teacher observations, and student actions—empowers parents, students, educators, and policymakers with a complete picture of student learning. Learn more about the types of student data and how people use it to help students excel.

Who Uses Student Data?

From parents to policymakers, education stakeholders use different types of data—including test scores, course grades, and demographic information—in different ways to improve education for students. Most personal student information stays local, and the type of data collected, and who can access them, is different at each point. Learn more about who collects, accesses and uses student data.

How Do We Make Data Work for All Students?

Data has the potential to transform education into a personalized experience that meets the needs of individuals and ensures that no student is lost along the way. But for this transformation to happen, the focus needs to shift from collecting data to prioritizing the effective use of data at all levels, from kitchen tables to school boards to state houses. Learn more about DQC’s recommendations for policymakers to achieve this transformation and make data work for students.

Still have questions about data? Check out our Data FAQ page.