On January 18, 2011, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) hosted a national summit and invited panelists such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year Pam Williams, Executive Director of the Data Quality Campaign Aimee Guider, and others, to discuss why education data matters, how education data is currently being used, and what actionable steps need to be taken to strengthen data use across the United States.
A recent High School Matters blog post, Family Engagement for High School Success Initiative, shared information about the United Way Worldwide’s Family Engagement for High School Success (FEHS), which aims to support disadvantaged high school youth by increasing family involvement in their education. This initiative is part of United Way Worldwide’s strategy to significantly reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate by 2018.
Last week the National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences released a report that provides data about public elementary and secondary schools during the 2009-2010 school year, including information specifically about high schools. The report, “Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009–10,” provides data for each state and the country as a whole.
In a recent interview, President Obama said: “We now have our kids go to school about one month less than most advanced countries. And that month makes a difference.” A recent research synthesis, the first on this topic, has shown that there is some research to support expanded learning time initiatives. The authors of the synthesis screened approximately 1,390 studies related to expanded school year and 818 studies related to expanded school day in elementary, middle, and high schools. Due to the limited number of studies published on the topic, the synthesis included studies with varying rigor of their design. The synthesis focused on the 15 studies which included academic outcomes. Of these studies, three included high schools, and the other 12 studies focused only on elementary and middle schools.
Three years ago this month, the Consortium on Chicago School Research (a partner organization of the National High School Center) released a report that identified a relatively simple approach to increasing college-going rates among Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school graduates.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the newly established Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), a one-stop information source for states and districts involved in developing Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDSs). PTAC staff will disseminate information on issues of privacy, confidentiality, and security, answer individual questions, conduct training, and, as appropriate, refer questions to experts at ED.
Policymakers and educators at the state, district, and building levels are looking to research and evaluation studies to guide policy and practice decisions. Increasingly, applications for federal and state funding require use of “evidence based” or “research supported” strategies, programs, and reform activities.
With the dearth of vetted high school research and research-based interventions, it is important that high school educators acquire skills in determining the rigor of emerging research and that education media writers do a thorough job of fact-checking before quoting from sources that invoke a new “study” or “research report”. For example, several education and news media outlets recently reported “high schoolers less interested in STEM degrees, study says“.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has awarded more than $400 million in discretionary grants to 41 states and the District of Columbia to help state education agencies design, develop, and implement state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs).