Our mission is to transform the use of data in education to improve student achievement.
Strategic Data Project: The Vision
Schools, districts and states collect lots of data. In fact, school districts today are gathering more information about students, teachers and schools than ever before. New layers of education policy demand accountability for results in varying ways. But how often is that data accessed and analyzed in order to support breakthrough decisions? How often does data inform fundamental policy shifts, strategic management decisions or curriculum changes? Unfortunately, not often enough.
Education leaders make important decisions every day that directly impact how well their organizations fulfill their core mission: educating students. Those decisions can be informed and strengthened by data and analysis, but often are not. As a result, education leaders are forced to make management and policy decisions based on insufficient or unreliable information. Business, health care, public safety and many other sectors aggressively pursue data analysis to improve their practice and outcomes. Surprisingly, this approach has yet to take root in public education – even in spite of the recent nationwide call to action for increased teacher and program evaluation. The Strategic Data Project intends to change this.
SDP: THE VISION
Housed at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University, the Strategic Data Project (SDP) partners with school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies to bring high quality research methods and data analysis to bear on strategic management and policy decisions. Our mission is to transform the use of data in education to improve student achievement. We believe that (1) policy and management decisions directly influence schools’ and teachers’ ability to improve student achievement; and (2) valid and reliable data analysis significantly improves the quality of decision-making. We believe that if we are able to bring together the right people, the right data, and the right analysis, then significantly better decision-making – as measured by student outcomes – will occur.
SDP pursues this mission through three core strategies: 1) placing and supporting analytic leaders in agencies for a two-year Fellowship; 2) conducting rigorous diagnostic analyses using the agencies’ data; and 3) scaling our work with partners to broadly impact K-12 education. You can find an introduction and background to the SDP diagnostic here. Both the diagnostic work and the work of SDP Fellows provide a foundation for decisions that improve student achievement and allocate resources wisely. SDP will disseminate its tools and methods, to broaden our reach beyond the places where we are engaged in two-year partnerships. We anticipate that significant findings will generate a growing demand for reliable research and data analysis, fundamentally altering the way decisions are made in public education.
See current projects and announcements with SDP in the News.
SDP was launched in 2008 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
***A new SDP website, with a look and feel that is more consistent with our recently launched CEPR website, is underway. All the information about SDP you need is here, and you can look forward to seeing the new and improved SDP website Winter 2012!***