Student data, as part of the education record from each student’s school experience, is most importantly a tool for that student to reflect their achievements, and inform their future decisions. In addition, however, data across students and over time enables insights for teachers, administrators, districts, and states to identify trends, show patterns, and evaluate the success of educational changes to ensure that new programs or services achieve the desired results.
This paper identifies 19 studies – a relatively small sample – where data was successfully used to evaluate a program, create a new strategy, or delve into equity and bias issues. The appropriate protection and responsible use of student data in such studies is a fundamental value. But the power of data to shed light on current student and educational system outcomes and improve the opportunity for individual success is overwhelming.