Stanford professor Sean Reardon is creating SEDA, the first ever database that uses student test score data from every school in the country to measure patterns of educational opportunity and school quality. The project aims to not only increase the usability of education data by aggregating it into one database, but to share evidence-based insights that push the field forward—and that sometimes question common assumptions.
Reardon’s early findings demonstrate the importance of this work. His study of academic achievement growth rates across school districts in America found that the Chicago Public School district outperforms almost all other school districts in the U.S., demonstrating that school quality is not limited by poverty. Chicago’s students learn at a faster rate than 96 percent of school districts in America: the average Chicago student’s test scores improved by six grade-level equivalents in five years’ time–20 percent more growth than average.
Additionally, Reardon’s dataset has enabled other researchers and influencers in the education sector to bring this data to life via storytelling. For example, EdTrust (another Overdeck Family Foundation grantee) used the SEDA dataset to create a series of podcasts that highlight ExtraOrdinary school districts across the country.