States to Get More Help With Education Data Collection

By David J. Hoff — November 29, 2005 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Department of Education and a coalition of private groups are launching separate but coordinated efforts to improve the quality of educational data and to make it easier to use.

The Education Department is trying to streamline the various ways it collects data from states and school districts into a single process, and it is also making grants to 14 states to help them improve their own data systems, department officials told state education officials at a one-day “data summit” convened here Nov. 17 by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

At the same meeting, a partnership of 10 educational research and advocacy groups announced the beginning of a Data Quality Campaign to help all states improve the quality of the data they collect and to help them find ways to use the data in improving student achievement.

“We need to invest in these data systems,” said Aimee R. Guidera, the director of the Washington office for the National Center for Educational Accountability. “This is a national forum to bring about these investments.”

Keeping Momentum

The amount and quality of educational data are expanding and improving, according to an NCEA survey released at the event, which was held the day before the chiefs’ annual policy forum started here.

States are making progress toward adopting the 10 ingredients that the Austin, Texas-based nonprofit group says are essential to any statewide data system. Thirty-six states say that they have a “student identifier” they can use to track a child’s progress from grade to grade, even if the student moves to different districts in the state. That’s an increase from the 21 states that had such identifiers when the NCEA first surveyed states two years ago.

Thirty-two states say they can track individual students’ test scores from year to year, and 38 are capable of collecting enrollment and demographic data in specific programs to evaluate the success of those programs.

But the NCEA survey also found that only 13 states have methods for determining whether individual teachers are successfully improving student achievement, and that just seven collect data on students’ coursetaking and grades—important elements in knowing what students need to study in order to be prepared to succeed in college.

To help states continue to upgrade data systems, Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, the director of the Education Department’s Institute of Education Sciences, announced at the data summit that 14 states will receive $52.8 million over the next three years in competitive grant funding. The state grants range from $1.5 million to $5.8 million.

The federal support is necessary, state officials said, because states often struggle to pay for the expansion of their data systems.

“It’s always hard to make the case to state legislatures that [data systems are] exciting and sexy,” said Alice Seagren, Minnesota’s commissioner of education and a former state representative.

That, however, may be changing, she said. As local school officials become more interested in using data to inform their decisions, they may be able to persuade reluctant legislators to underwrite projects that improve the quality of their education data.

“As schools are getting more and more savvy,” Ms. Seagren said, “we’re going to have more pressure on the legislature.”

Bridging Gaps

Leaders of both private and public efforts discussed ways they seek to make life easier for state and district school officials.

On the federal level, federal officials told the audience of chiefs and other state officials that they are developing a single reporting system to handle data requests across the pre-K-16 spectrum. Now, states often need to send the same data to different Education Department offices.

The private partnership will also seek to make it easier for states to respond to their groups’ requests for data, said Dane Linn, the education policy director for the National Governors Association, one of the partnership’s members. The 10 groups in the effort will coordinate requests to states so the states don’t have to duplicate their efforts in responding to them.

Besides the NCEA and the NGA, the partnership includes the CCSSO, Achieve Inc., Standard & Poor’s School Evaluation Services, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Education Trust, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the School Interoperability Framework Association, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

Related Tags:


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Opinion 'Jargon' and 'Fads': Departing IES Chief on State of Ed. Research
Better writing, timelier publication, and more focused research centers can help improve the field, Mark Schneider says.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Electric School Buses Get a Boost From New State and Federal Policies
New federal standards for emissions could accelerate the push to produce buses that run on clean energy.
3 min read
Stockton Unified School District's new electric bus fleet reduces over 120,000 pounds of carbon emissions and leverages The Mobility House's smart charging and energy management system.
A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency sets higher fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles. By 2032, it projects, 40 percent of new medium heavy-duty vehicles, including school buses, will be electric.
Business Wire via AP
Federal What Would Happen to K-12 in a 2nd Trump Term? A Detailed Policy Agenda Offers Clues
A conservative policy agenda could offer the clearest view yet of K-12 education in a second Trump term.
8 min read
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Ga.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome, Ga. Allies of the former president have assembled a detailed policy agenda for every corner of the federal government with the idea that it would be ready for a conservative president to use at the start of a new term next year.
Mike Stewart/AP
Federal Opinion Student Literacy Rates Are Concerning. How Can We Turn This Around?
The ranking Republican senator on the education committee wants to hear from educators and families about making improvements.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty