The Education Data Collaborative: A new kind of partnership.

About: “Whether we work within schools or as part of the broader ecosystem of parent-teacher associations, and philanthropic, nonprofit, and volunteer organizations, we need data to guide decisions about investing our time and resources.

This data is typically expensive to gather, often unvalidated (e.g. self-reported), and commonly available only to those who collect or report it. It can even be hard to ask for data when it’s not clear what’s available. At the same time, information – in the form of discrete research, report-card style PDFs, or static websites – is everywhere. The result is that many already resource-thin organizations that could be collaborating around strategies to help kids advance, spend a lot of time in isolation collecting and searching for data.

In the past decade, we’ve seen solid progress in addressing part of the problem: the emergence of connected longitudinal data systems (LDS). These warehouses and  linked databases contain data that can help us understand how students progress over time. No personally identifiable information (or PII) is shared, yet the data can reveal where interventions are most needed. Because these systems are typically designed for researchers and policy professionals, they are rarely accessible to the educators, parents, and partners – arts, sports, academic enrichment (e.g. STEM), mentoring, and family support programs – that play such important roles in helping young people learn and succeed…

“We need open tools for the ecosystem – parents, volunteers, non-profit organizations and the foundations and agencies that support them. These partners can realize significant benefit from the same kind of data policy makers and education leaders hold in their LDS.

That’s why we’re launching the Education Data Collaborative. Working together, we can build tools that help us use data to improve the design, efficacy, and impact of programs and interventions and find new  way to work with public education systems to achieve great things for kids. …Data collaboratives, data trusts, and other kinds of multi-sector data partnerships are among the most important civic innovations to emerge in the past decade….(More)”