DQC Report: Effective Data Use and Research Partnerships between SEAs and Education Researchers

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Kids at the library

Today, the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released a new infographic and resource on education research, Roadmap for Effective Data Use and Research Partnerships between State Education Agencies and Education Researchers. DQC brought together education researchers and policy experts, including FPF’s Education Policy Counsel Amelia Vance, to create these new resources.

The new infographic explains how education research “is about answering questions,” “support[ing] individual students,” “inform[ing] better decisions,” “build[ing] knowledge for the future,” and helping “students and schools succeed.” The new “roadmap” resource discusses how “safeguarding student information is paramount to successful [state education agency and] research partnerships,” and provides practical tips on improving privacy and security (page 13) and engaging and being transparent with the public about state research efforts (page 11).

DQC’s new resources are especially important as policymakers consider how to improve evidence-based policymaking. In the past few years, several states have passed laws limiting or eliminating sharing data with researchers due to privacy concerns even though, as the DQC roadmap highlights, education research and effective educational policies go hand-in-hand.

FPF looks forward to continuing to work with DQC on education research and student privacy issues.

DQC’s roadmap is part of a larger conversation about how best to protect student privacy while promoting data-driven research that can improve education outcomes.  It is crucial for researchers to embrace privacy safeguards and review mechanisms beyond traditional institutional research boards (IRBs) in some circumstances. It is also important for researchers to articulate the value of data and communicate with stakeholders regarding privacy-protective practices.  Stakeholder support can make or break data driven education initiatives.  Two of the best ways to to earn stakeholder trust are to implement meaningful privacy protections and communicate effectively with the community.