The Data for Decisions Initiative at WestEd provides high-quality, evidence-based services and resources related to education data use for a variety of audiences:

• Educators

• Policymakers

• Researchers

• Parents and Other Stakeholders

If you have any questions regarding our services and/or would like to request guidance on addressing your needs related to education data use, please contact us at

For Educators

Developing data use in a school or district can be quite challenging. Human, cultural, and technological capacity must be built in order to promote and successfully execute data-driven decision making.

To help educators advance the use of data to improve teaching and learning, we offer:

For Researchers

Data for decision making is an emerging research topic with a growing research field. Researchers must be kept aware of new and emerging research in the field.

To help researchers conduct studies related to data use, we offer:

For Policymakers

Much attention from policymakers has been given to the importance of teachers using education data to inform their instruction and student learning. Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has spoken widely about the need for more and better data use and the U.S. Department of Education has devoted over $610 million to build the technological infrastructure for data use at the federal and state levels.

In addition to their roles in encouraging data use at schools and districts, policymakers must also use data for their decision-making—whether to continue a program initiative and how to make resource allocation decisions. Much like teachers and administrators, policymakers must also use data to inform their decisions.

To help policymakers in their programmatic deliberations and next steps toward supporting greater use of data in states, districts, and schools, we offer:

  • White papers on data use, available in our foundational research library
  • A list of upcoming events including conferences and presentations on data-driven decision making and data policy
  • Experienced staff who understand the complexities of data policies

For Parents and Other Stakeholders

The more parents understand education data, the more meaningful the discussions they can have with their children and teachers. Other stakeholders who should have knowledge of data include school board members and the general public. For example, school board members can use data to inform budget decisions.

To help parents and other stakeholders develop a greater understanding of how data can be used to inform teaching and learning, we offer: