ERIC Number: ED484459
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Dec
Investigation of Education Databases in Four States To Support Policy Research on Resource Allocation. Policy Report
Pan, Diane; Smith-Hansen, Lotte; Jones, Debra Hughes; Rudo, Zena H.; Alexander, Celeste; Kahlert, Rahel Kahlert, Rahel
US Department of Education
Information is one of the most important tools education decision makers need to help them effectively spend taxpayer money, allocate qualified staff, and determine the effectiveness of education investments. Decision makers must understand the role and influence of monetary and staff resources on the education system, and they must have information to help them decide where to invest limited resources for maximum effect on student learning. In this report, researchers from the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) describe the data collected and housed by state education agencies in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. Guidance was provided to researchers and state policy audiences, including policymakers and policy influencers from state legislatures, state departments of education, and governors' offices in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The purpose of this study was to assess the capacity of existing state education databases to answer policy questions about instructional resource allocation and student performance. Existing state databases include organized collections of data managed by state entities for reporting, conducting research, and/or supporting policy and practice. Researchers at SEDL and nationally can use these findings to understand the feasibility and potential scope of using existing state data to conduct research on the allocation of instructional resources. Policymakers and practitioners, by better understanding the capacity of state data systems to conduct policy research, will be able to expand research about instructional resource allocation and student performance. This report is divided into three major sections with detailed reference material in the appendixes. Chapter 2 describes how data on instructional resources and student performance have been utilized to support policy in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. Chapter 3 describes existing state education data in the four study states and discusses how researchers could use these data to answer policy questions related to instructional resources. Chapter 4 poses recommendations for policymakers regarding how data might be better utilized and improved to support decision making. Findings on state data in New Mexico are represented in this report; however, these findings are limited and conjectural at times because data were not received from that state for analysis. Information about New Mexico data systems are based solely on printed documentation and interviews with state data managers. The methods used to conduct this study are explained in appendix A, and the remaining appendixes provide detailed descriptions of state education data in each of the four study states for the reader's reference and use in planning future research studies. (Contains 54 tables.)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Decision Making, State Departments of Education, Resource Allocation, Researchers, Educational Development, Databases, Educational Finance, Educational Policy
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 E. 7th St., Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701. Web site: http://www.sedl.org.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Policymakers
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.