Good news for ed data wonks

One small step for researcher access might lead to some giant leaps in what we know about schools. In today’s Canberra Times, Emma McDonald writes:

The ACT will be the first state or territory to use national literacy and numeracy test results for high-level university research into education policy.

The ACT Department of Education will sign an agreement with the University of Canberra today to begin a series of research projects looking at factors which influence student performance and their progression through the national testing regime across Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. …

According to university associate professor of education Louise Watson, the agreement will allow some of the university’s best researchers access to one of the nation’s most comprehensive sets of educational data and for their findings to inform government policy. In 2008, all states and territories began assessing literacy and numeracy achievement in pupils across Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, based on standardised tests.

A few questions that came to my mind: will the data allow them to link teachers and students? how much do we know about student demographics in the administrative data? will UC have an arrangement to allow researchers from across the country to use their data lab?

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