Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Data

Education Department to Expand Data Collection on COVID and Schools

By Evie Blad — September 03, 2021 2 min read
Image of a data dashboard.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Department of Education will expand the limited data it currently collects on students’ experiences in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the door open to add new questions to its representative survey of schools as the public health crisis evolves.

The survey will build on the department’s existing instrument, which has largely focused on schools’ operating status, by asking more questions about how students learn and what precautions schools take.

Consistent, comparable data has been a concern for educators, public health officials, and researchers since schools first closed to slow transmission of the virus in March 2020.

Through its School Pulse Panel, the Education Department plans to collect data on “topics such as instructional mode offered; enrollment counts of subgroups of students using various instructional modes; learning loss mitigation strategies; safe and healthy school mitigation strategies; special education services; use of technology; use of federal relief funds; and information on staffing,” the agency said in a notice set to publish in the Federal Register Tuesday.

The representative national data will be collected through a monthly survey of district staff and principals at a sample of 1,200 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the 2021-22 school year.

That data set will expand greatly on the store of official federal data on the pandemic’s impact on schools and students, providing a tool for decisionmakers and a way to help track the effects of the crisis for years into the future.

No federal agency collected data on COVID-19 and schools until a year into the pandemic, when the Education Department started a monthly survey of 3,500 schools that enroll 4th-graders and 3,500 schools that enroll 8th-graders, in part to track President Joe Biden’s school reopening goals during his first months in office. It asked a small list of questions, largely focusing on whether a school was open with full-time in-person instruction, with a hybrid of online and in-person instruction, or fully remote.

That survey, and the new questions the Education Department outlined in its notice this week, were designed to comply with a January 2021 executive order from Biden, which directed the agency to collect “data necessary to fully understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and educators, including data on the status of in-person learning.”

“Given the high demand for data collection during this time, the content of the survey may change on a quarterly basis,” the notice says.

The agency will accept public comment on the survey’s contents for 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

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.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
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.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

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

Data Knowing What Schools Did in the Pandemic is Crucial. So Is Preserving That Data
A prominent researcher is working to collect information on schools and COVID-19 to inform future study on the pandemic's effects.
6 min read
Kindergarten students wear masks and are separated by plexiglass during class at Milton Elementary School, in Rye, N.Y. on May 18, 2021.
Kindergarten students wear masks and are separated by plexiglass during class in May at Milton Elementary School, in Rye, N.Y.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Data Will Coronavirus Hobble Yet Another National Education Survey?
Amid all the schooling disruptions, federal researchers are scrambling to connect with teachers and principals for a key national survey.
2 min read
Illustration of a person taking a survey.
DigitalVision Vectors
Data Spotlight Spotlight on Student Data
In this Spotlight, discover how students perform on national tests and more.
Data Using Student Data to Identify Future Criminals: A Privacy Debacle
A police department uses sensitive school data to keep a secret list of students it deems as at risk of engaging in criminal behavior.
8 min read
Silhouette of group of students with data overlay.
iStock/Getty Images Plus