For more detail and supporting research:
See pages 119-128 of Monitoring Educational Equity
So far, this guidebook has focused on each of the indicators of educational equity individually, to provide states and districts with a sense of how to begin approaching data collection. But no single indicator by itself can tell the full story of educational equity. Instead, all the indicators need to be considered together as a set that are collected and reported on a regular, sustained basis to provide a detailed and nuanced picture for policy makers, policy implementers, educators, educational leaders, and the public.
Such systems of indicators will necessarily be developed gradually, making use of existing data first until a fuller system is developed. States and school districts are in the best position to undertake demonstration projects and early prototypes of an indicator system, either on their own or in collaboration with other educational jurisdictions and organizations such as the Council of Great City Schools, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Governor’s Association, the Education Trust, and similar organizations.
As a first step toward developing systems of educational equity indicators that can inform a national-level system, states, school districts, and their partners can incorporate the indicators of educational equity into their relevant data collection and reporting activities, strategic priorities, and plans to meet the equity aspects of ESSA.
As shown above, states and districts already are collecting data related to several of the indicators or could collect the data relatively easily. Other indicators will require additional work before they can be implemented. As an example, while many school systems evaluate readiness for kindergarten, the assessments they use differ in terms of the skills measured, the methods by which they are measured, the timing of the assessments, and thresholds for defining readiness. Still other indicators will require more effort to identify common definitions, data
sources, and data collection instruments that capture the full meaning of the indicator (see Summary Table in the Introduction).
To tackle the less well-developed indicators, states, districts, and their partners can seek public and private funding to support detailed design and implementation work for a comprehensive set of equity indicators, including an operational prototype and for consensus-building across jurisdictions.
This work could involve several self-selected “early adopter” states and districts; education policy, research, and advocacy organizations; stakeholder representatives; and academic researchers. The work could focus on cataloguing the available data sources, determining areas of overlap and gaps, and seeking consensus on appropriate paths forward toward expanding the indicator system to a broader set of states and districts.
Monitoring Educational Equity also notes the important role that other child-serving agencies play in helping children. Research and consensus building are needed to create indicators and measures of integrated services that should eventually be included in a broader equity indicator system.
As a start toward this longer-term work, states, school districts, and their partners can explore the development of indicators related to integrated services that address context-related impediments to student success, such as trauma and chronic stress created by adversity.
Taking these actions will keep public attention on a critical goal for the nation: to ensure that all students receive the supports they need to obtain a high-quality education from pre-K through grade 12. Educating all students is central to the nation’s ability to grow, develop, and provide its citizens the opportunity to live full and rewarding lives.