Education Report Roundup

Data Mining

By Debra Viadero — January 26, 2010 1 min read

A new report lays out a strategy to enable districts and states to pool data and determine which interventions are most effective for getting students on track to attend college or launch a career.

In the paper, which was published last week by the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research, researcher Chrys Dougherty contends that educators can draw on longitudinal data on students to determine how far off the college-and-career track their students are when they enter high school—a higher standard than indicators showing simply whether students are on grade level. By pooling such data with statistics from other jurisdictions, the report adds, educators can figure out which interventions are most likely to work with which students.

As an example, Mr. Dougherty draws on student data from Arkansas and Texas. His analysis finds that most students are not on the college-and-career track upon entering high school and that typical interventions, such as requiring students to take additional higher-level mathematics courses, do not work with the students who are furthest off the mark.

Mr. Dougherty is a senior research scientist at the National Center for Educational Achievement in Austin, Texas, which is a partner in the federally funded high school center.

A version of this article appeared in the January 27, 2010 edition of Education Week as Data Mining