News & Events

  • August 11, 2016


    New Publications: How Countries Are Improving the Capacity of Teachers to Use Data

    DDI is proud to announce the release of two articles as part of a special issue of the international journal Teaching and Teacher Education. The special issue’s theme is on how countries are improving the capacity of teachers to use data.

    The first article is titled “What does it mean for teachers to be data literate: Laying out the skils, knowledge, and dispositions.” The authors, Dr. Ellen Manindach (WestEd) and Dr. Edith Gummer (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation), were invited to write an article on a framework for a construct called data literacy for teachers. The article lays out the framework, identifying the specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions teachers need to use data effectively and responsibly. It concludes with a call to schools of education and teacher preparation programs to begin to integrate data literacy into curricula and practical experiences.

    The second article is titled “Teacher learning how to use data: A synthesis of the issues and what is known.” The authors, Dr. Ellen Manindach (WestEd) and Dr. Jo Beth Jimerson (Texas Christian University) were invited to synthesize the articles in this special issue on data use.  The synthetic piece contextualizes how the articles contribute to the knowledge base of how teachers use data.

  • July 22, 2016

    Standing-Room Only Presentation: “What Data Parents Want: Using a Data Dashboard in Missouri”

    During a standing-room only presentation, participants of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Summer Conference heard “What Data Parents Want: Using A Data Dashboard in Missouri.” The presenters included Dr. Ellen Mandinach and Dr. Ryan Miskell (WestEd), Dr. Edith Gummer and Mr. Christopher Laubenthal (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foudnation), and Mr. Jeff Falter (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education). With the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requiring districts to engage parents and families, NCES participants recognized the importance of communicating education data effectively to parents.

    The presentation focused on the types of information parents use and search for as they make educational decisions. This information is vital as states and districts develop dashboards of information for various stakeholders, as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has done with EdWise. During the presentation, the audience asked several follow-up questions :

    1. Q: How do parents feel about the applicable processes, documentation, and guidelines associated with schools and districts near them?
      • A: These topics frequently come up, but they highlight one of the obstacles of parents’ desire for data–frequently they want information not easily captured or shared.
    2. Q: All of your 118 interviewed parents came from Missouri; is this study generalizable to other states?
      • A: Given the cross section of parents geographically and economically, we feel this study is a fairly representative sample that can be used in different states. Only the very affluent being under represented in the study.
    3. Q: On the topic of economically diverse parents, did the digital divide present itself in your work?
      • A: Absolutely. We met a set of parents in St. Louis who did not have access to computers or the internet. When given the Amazon gift cards one of them asked, “how do I even use this?” People are making assumptions that all students are connected to the Internet and it’s not true.
    4. Q: How can data address the topics of bullying and peer pressure? How can we share that with parents?
      • A: School climate surveys like the Five E’s work in Chicago as well as interviews and testimonials can capture some of this information. We are still challenged by how to best share this information, but we need to continue looking into the matter. Knowing about bullying and peer pressure can save lives.
    5. Q: Once you have a tool like EdWise, how do you promote its use amongst parents?
      • A: Education data just by itself can be elite and so increasing use presents difficult challenges. These challenges, like those we addressed in St. Louis, are something we keep bumping into. The solution is to find ways to meet parents where they are, computers or no, and to develop a culture and an environment that says data use is okay.

  • July 11, 2016


    Upcoming Presentations: 2016 STATS-DC Data Conference

    The Data for Decisions Initiative is proud to announce two upcoming presentations during the 2016 NCES Summer Forum and STATS-DC Data Conference. The conference will be held at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC from Sunday, July 10th through Thursday, July 14th.

    • On Tuesday, July 12th, Dr. Ellen Mandinach and Dr. Ryan Miskell (WestEd), Dr. Edith Gummer (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation), and Mr. Jeff Falter (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) will give a presentation titled, “What Data Parents Want: Using a Data Dashboard in Missouri.” The presentation will be held from 2:30 PM to 3:20 PM in the Virginia Room on the second level.
    • On Thursday, July 14th, Dr. Ellen Mandinach (WestEd), Dr. Jessica Mislevy (AIR), and Mr. Doug Paulson (Minnesota Department of Education) will give a presentation titled, “Measuring New Indicators for STEM Education: State-Level Opportunities and Learning Examples.” The presentation will be held from 10:15 AM to 11:00 AM in the Virginia Room on the second level.

  • April 18, 2016

    Summit: “Time to Act: Making Data Work for Students”

    Description: The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) will host a national summit, “Time to Act: Making Data Work for Students,” on Tuesday, April 26, in Washington, DC. Meeting our nation’s education goals is impossible without empowering those closest to students with the data they need to make decisions. At this summit, DQC will unveil a bold new vision for using data in the service of student learning and call the field to act with corresponding policy recommendations to make that vision a reality. The event will be open to the public with a reception to follow. It will also be webcast for those who can’t make it in person.

    Location: The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036

    Date: Tuesday, April 26

    Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

    Visit the Data Quality Campaign for more information to and register for the event.


    • Aimee Rogstad Guidera, President and CEO, Data Quality Campaign
    • Alyson Klein, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    • Bev Perdue, Seventy-Third Governor of North Carolina; Founder and Chair, DigiLEARN: Digital Learning Institute; and Senior Advisor, Whiteboard Advisors
    • Elizabeth Rorick, Deputy Executive Director of Government Affairs and Communication, National PTA
    • Gail Pletnick, Superintendent, Dysart Unified School District, Arizona
    • Jared Polis, US House of Representatives (D-CO)
    • Joshua Parker, 2012 Maryland State Teacher of the Year; Instructional Coach, Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School, District of Columbia Public Schools
    • Kara Anderson, Fairfax County, Virginia parent
    • Karl Dean, Former Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee
    • Luke Messer, US House of Representatives (R-IN)
    • Mary Gwen Wheeler, Executive Director, 55,000 Degrees, Louisville, Kentucky
    • Reggie Moore, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Youth Engagement, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    • Rich Crandall, Commissioner of Education, State of Colorado
    • Terry Holliday, Former Commissioner of Education, State of Kentucky
    • Tomeka Hart, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Institutional Advancement, Southern Education Foundation

  • March 21, 2016


    WestEd Creates AERA Special Interest Group (SIG)

    DDI welcomes you to join the inaugural business meeting of an AERA Special Interest Group (SIG) on data-driven decision-making. The SIG will be launched at this year’s American Educational Research Association annual meeting in Washington, DC, Monday, April 11, 6:45-8:15pm (EST) at the Marriott Marquis, Level 4, Independence Salon G.

    This SIG will provide interested researchers with an intellectual and collaborative home where theory, research, policy, and practice on data-driven decision-making can be shared with like-minded colleagues. Note: If you are unable to attend the SIG meeting and/or are interested in more information, please feel free to contact Ellen Mandinach at or 202.674.9300.

    Data-driven decision-making in education has become an increasingly emphasized topic by policymakers. Educators at all levels of the education system — from classrooms, schools, districts, state education agencies, and at the federal level — are expected to use data in effective and responsible ways. Having the right data and using them appropriately can provide credible and informative insights into what is really happening to students, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders. For example, the decision to implement a new program, curriculum, or intervention should be based on data that support the particular situation.

    Research on data use has paralleled this emphasis, but until now has lacked an intellectual home, despite undergirding many of the divisions of AERA. Teachers inform their classroom practices and make instructional decisions based on many sources of data. Education leaders at the building level help to create data cultures in schools. Superintendents and state commissioners must make informed decisions based on hard evidence. Policymakers rely on sound evidence from which to make decisions. It is safe to say that data should permeate all education practice.

    As Director of the Data for Decisions Initiative at WestEd, Ellen Mandinach led the creation of this SIG. The Data for Decisions website provides resources to help educators use data for effective decision-making, and now the AERA SIG will further increase understanding and capacity on data for decision-making.

    We look forward to seeing you on April 11, in Washington, DC, for a collaborative, engaging kick-off discussion on data-driven decision-making in education. As mentioned above, for more information, especially for those who will be unable to attend the session, please feel free to contact Ellen Mandianch at or 202.674.9300.

  • March 23, 2016


    WestEd’s Mandinach to Present on Using Data to Facilitate Improvement

    WestEd’s Ellen Mandinach will present on data-driven decision-making at a pre-conference workshop of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation Conference (CAEP),* Wednesday, March 23, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, San Diego, CA.

    Participants attending Mandinach’s “Using Data for Programmatic Continuous Improvement and the Preparation of Data Literacy for Educators” workshop will learn about two emerging issues that impact teacher preparation programs:

    • The use of data to inform the continuous improvement of programs
    • Integration of data literacy as an essential skill set into teacher preparation

    Rather than viewing data-driven decision-making as a heavy-handed accountability issue, schools of education can come to see that data can be helpful to facilitate improvement, according to Mandinach.

    Mandinach is the Director of the Data for Decisions Initiative at WestEd and a leading expert in data-driven decision-making.

    * CAEP advances educator preparation through evidence-based accreditation that assures quality and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning.

  • January 27, 2016


    Training Data-Literate Teachers: Insights from Pioneer Programs

    WestEd and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation conducted four case studies of teacher preparation programs considered to be ’emerging ‘ in terms of incorporating data literacy into their programs.  Dell and WestEd have just released the case studies. The four programs – Western Oregon University, Boston Teacher Residency, Relay Graduate School of Education, and Urban Teachers – help shed light on what constitutes a quality program and how each approaches data literacy.

    The case studies can be downloaded together or as individual files: 1) Training Data-Literate Teachers – Insights from Pioneer Programs; 2) Boston Teacher Residency; 3) Relay Graduate School of Education; 4) Urban Teachers; and 5) Western Oregon University.

  • December 9, 2015

    Upcoming Workshops at the Priority and Focus Schools Leadership Academy

    Diana Nunnaley of the Using Data Project and Ellen Mandinach of WestEd, both DDI and MACC@WestEd staffers, will give two workshops on December 9th at the Priority and Focus Schools Leadership Academy for the SAS Institute of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  The workshops, Using Data to Improve Student Achievement and Performance, will be conducted in Hershey, PA.

  • October 16, 2015


    Available Presentation: Using Data For Programmatic Continuous Improvement

    Ellen Mandinach (WestEd and the DDI) conducted a workshop at the 2015 CAEP Conference.  The workshop, entitled “Using Data for Programmatic Continuous Improvement and the Preparation of Data Literacy for Educators,” engaged deans of schools of education and other administrators about the use of data.  It is a resource to help administrators understand why data literacy is so important and to think through how the construct  can be integrated into teacher preparation programs.  The workshop also helped institutions think through how to use data for programmatic improvement.

  • August 19, 2015


    WestEd’s Ellen Mandinach and Andrea Lash Publish Chapter in the Handbook of Education

    Ellen Mandinach and Andrea Lash of WestEd have written a chapter on assessment and data entitled “Assessment Illuminating Pathways to Learning.”  This chapter describes trends in assessment and how different types of data can be used to inform practice.  The  chapter was released in the third edition of the Handbook of Educational Psychology.

    Handbook of Educational Psych