Data news

Top 10 education data stories of 2014

For my year-end post, I’m highlighting my 10 favorite Education By The Numbers stories of the year. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on my weekly stories about education data and research. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you in 2015. If you would like to receive an email notification […]


Even education data geeks agree that education data is completely inscrutable and inaccessible to parents

One of the many provisions of the 2001 federal education act, known as No Child Left Behind, was a requirement that states had to issue a “report card”  for every public school. The report cards include things you might expect like student test scores and test score changes, but also a laundry list of data from […]


Education researchers don’t check for errors — dearth of replication studies

Education theories come and go. Experts seem to advocate for polar opposites, from student discovery to direct teacher instruction, from typing to cursive hand-writing, and from memorizing times tables to using calculators. Who can blame a school system for not knowing what works? One big problem is that education scholars don’t bother to replicate each […]


Can we use the same problem-solving tricks for classrooms that we use on the assembly line?

Back in the late 1950s the Japanese auto maker Toyota developed a novel approach for fixing problems on its production line:  root cause analysis. Rather than making a bandaid repair on a visible symptom, the idea was to ask a series of five “why” questions to get at the underlying root problem and fix that […]


Crowdsourcing education data

Crowdsourcing was a big theme at the 2014 federal datapalooza conference devoted to education on January 15, 2014. Linked In’s Christina Allen pointed out that her company is sitting on a “large-scale data base of outcomes.” That’s because users report where the went to school and their employment history. If mined properly, the Linked In […]


More than 80 percent of U.S. states are producing high school feedback reports

The Data Quality Campaign issued its annual survey, Data for Action 2013, of how states are collecting and using education data on Nov. 19, 2013. The advocacy group argues that using data more would improve  education policy and classroom instruction. It reported that two states, Arkansas and Delaware, were using data the most. But they’re […]


Federal “datapalooza” and college ratings to come next year

Inside Higher Ed reported Oct. 31, 2013 that the White House and Department of Education will be hosting a “datapalooza” in the Spring of 2014 that will “look at better ways to package and provide access to existing federal data on colleges and students, such as the government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, known as […]


Momentum growing to protect student data

Who owns a schoolchild’s data? Everything from where they live to their test scores? Schools collect it and the federal government explicitly allow schools to share this data with outside contractors, such as a data storage company or an educational software vendor, without getting parental permission first. But it’s unclear what schools and outside vendors […]


Government shutdown makes education data hard to come by

Granted, there are far more dire consequences to the federal government shutdown that this. But it’s really hard to write for the blog this week. The Census website, where you can find school district and funding data, is down. As is the National Center for Education Statistics. I was hoping to write a brilliant post […]


Report of troubles with using education data in Idaho

Bill Roberts writes in The Idaho Statesman on September 13, 2013 that teachers throughout the state of Idaho are unable to make good use of a much heralded Schoolnet data system because test score data arrive months too late and because some of the data is riddled with errors. One teacher reported that she “never […]