Uses of Data in the Community-Based Reform Initiative

Meredith Ludwig, Rose Goff, and Dory Seidel

The field of education is increasingly focused on data-driven decision making. Education researchers and practitioners recognize the importance of data for improving classroom instruction and reforming struggling schools.

During a period of four years, Say Yes to Education developed data resources and tools reflecting a commitment, as part of a community-based reform initiative (Say Yes Syracuse), to identify needs, monitor implementation, certify results, provide transparency and engage stakeholders. The Say Yes to Education experience reflects the nationwide challenges of using district and school data in a way that is increasingly more intelligible and actionable.

This paper

  • describes the context for Say Yes Syracuse data efforts, presenting conditions that the research suggests should be in place to support productive data use, challenges that emerge around data use, and four common uses of data in K–12 education that are aligned with the goals of data use in Say Yes Syracuse;
  • describes the development of data resources and tools in the Say Yes Syracuse initiative; and
  • discusses lessons learned and expresses them in terms of the conditions for productive data use.