Data Driven Improvement and Accountability

Published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), this brief reviews evidence and provides illustrative examples of data use in business and sports in order to compare practices in these sectors with data use in public education. The brief discusses research and findings related in education within and beyond the United States, and makes particular reference to the authors own study of a system-wide educational reform strategy in the province of Ontario, Canada. Drawing on these reviews of existing research and illustrative examples across sectors, the brief then examines five key factors that influence the success or failure of DDIA systems in public education:
1. The nature and scope of the data employed by the improvement and accountability systems, as well as the relationships and interactions among them;
2. The types of indicators (summary statistics) used to track progress or to make comparisons among schools and districts;
3. The interactions between the improvement and accountability systems;
4. The kinds of consequences attached to high and low performance and how those consequences are distributed;
5. The culture and context of data use -- the ways in which data are collected, interpreted and acted upon by communities of educators, as well as by those who direct or regulate their work.

Content Comments 

This is an excellent resource that has great potential to positively impact small and large-scale data collection, analysis, and use systems from the realms of the classroom to the state.