Future of Data in K-12 Education: A Comprehensive Analysis

US Chamber of Commerce Foundation:

The report asks: what can we learn from the last two decades of education policy, and what do we still not know? According to what Goldhaber and DeArmond identify as the most credible existing studies, the report highlights the following:

Disaggregated data shifted the focus from the average kid to every kid—including Black, Hispanic, low-income students, English learners, and students with special needs. No longer were school districts able to hide the performance of some students behind an average.

Student achievement increased due to NCLB-era assessment and accountability policies, especially in math and especially for Black, Hispanic, and low-income students, who the system had not been serving well.

There is now access to far more reliable, comparable education data than there would be available otherwise, though there has not been sufficient time dedicated to rigorous analysis.

Reforms in teacher evaluation and school turnaround initiatives did not consistently improve student outcomes at scale, in part due to significant variation in quality of implementation.

However, existing research and data has not answered other critical questions, including:

Did schools serving historically underserved students get more money to improve than they otherwise would have?

If identified schools did get more money, what did they do with it?

How many identified low-performing schools became successful?

Have states seen improvement in measures other than academics, such as chronic absenteeism or school climate, that the Every Student Succeeds Act was also intended to elevate?

Learn about how the last two decades of education policy can inform how we plan for our students’ futures.