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data linking

Data Use and Inquiry in Research-Practice Partnerships: Four Case Examples

The four case examples presented in this brief are drawn from the Gardner Center’s substantial experience conducting rigorous research in research-practice partnerships. The first case describes a partnership approach that enhances a school district’s capacity to use integrated longitudinal data to tackle persistent problems of practice and monitor students’ development. The second case exemplifies how an equitable research model, grounded in mutualism and sensitive to cultural nuances, can be leveraged to elevate the experience marginalized communities.

From Data to Action: A Community Approach to Improving Youth Outcomes

In the current era of reform, much has been made of the fact that there are many influences that shape children beyond the walls of the schoolhouse. Powerful data “warehouses” have been built to track children and interventions within school bureaucracies and in other social service sectors. Yet these data systems are rarely linked to provide a holistic view of how individual children are faring both in and out of school and which interventions—or combinations thereof—are most promising. Privacy laws and institutional traditions have made such collaborations difficult, if not impossible.

Math Articulation between the San Francisco Unified School District and the City College of San Francisco

The Bridge to Success initiative convened the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), and key community organizations to promote postsecondary success for underrepresented students. At the request of the initiative’s math teaching working group, the Gardner Center used the Youth Data Archive to conduct an analysis on the relationship between students’ high school math performance at SFUSD and their performance on CCSF’s math placement test for incoming students.

Math Placement Acceleration Initiative at the City College of San Francisco Developed with San Francisco Unified School District

This issue brief presents an analysis predicting students’ success in their first community college math course and explains how a placement policy created through San Francisco’s Bridge to Success (BtS) initiative acts on these results. BtS brings together the City and County of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the City College of San Francisco (CCSF), and key community organizations to promote postsecondary success for underrepresented students.

Graduation Rates for East Palo Alto Students in the Sequoia Union High School District

High school graduation is a key indicator that school districts and policymakers use to measure school performance. There are different ways to calculate graduation rates, and their accuracy can be compromised by lack of available data when students transfer schools or districts. Community partners in East Palo Alto (EPA) asked the Gardner Center to examine graduation rates for all EPA public school students, a rate that has been previously difficult to ascertain.

A Longitudinal View of Educational Outcomes for Preschool For All Participants in Redwood City School District

This report is a longitudinal examination of PFA participants, tracking students’ experiences across their first four years in elementary school. It builds upon a 2009 study that found that PFA graduates in San Mateo County were better prepared for kindergarten than their classmates who had not attended preschool and equally ready for kindergarten as classmates with other preschool experiences. To conduct the analysis, researchers used the Youth Data Archive to link individual student records from three PFA cohorts to their Redwood City School District records.

Truancy and Chronic Absence in Redwood City

At the request of the Redwood City 2020 Cabinet, the Gardner Center conducted an analysis to study truancy and chronic absenteeism among Redwood City students.  Through the Youth Data Archive, researchers linked data from Redwood City School District, Sequoia Union High School District, and San Mateo County Human Services Agency.  The data were used to examine the extent to which truancy and chronic absenteeism are present in the greater Redwood City area, and to explore the causes, consequences, and correlates of absenteeism that may be present in the community.

State and Local Data Infrastructure for Tracking Secondary to Postsecondary Educational Outcomes

There is an important case to be made for using linked administrative data to study students’ educational pathways in order to document and understand the trajectories they follow from secondary to postsecondary education. This brief discusses the ways in which existing administrative data can be used for this purpose. The authors begin with a discussion of existing statewide and local data linking projects and then discuss the specific types of administrative data that could be used to follow student pathways.


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