Through its Data Use and Educational Improvement Initiative, the Spencer Foundation supports scholarship examining conditions, contexts, and other factors and processes that affect how educational organizations use data for improvement. This initiative grew out of our broader focus on Organizational Learning in Schools, School Systems, and Higher Education Institutions. Research projects in the Data Use Initiative have included work in both K-12 schools and institutions of higher education and have covered a range of topics, from data use patterns through an online data management system to the effectiveness of capacity-building interventions. Summaries of past major grant projects in the Data Use and Educational Improvement Initiative are available here. In conjunction with its developing work in Data Use and Educational Improvement, Spencer also convened a series of meetings of scholars working in this area. Information about these convenings and resulting papers can be found here.
Evidence for the Classroom Request for Proposals
More recently, we have directed attention within the Data Use Initiative to cultivating studies on how K-8 educators use data on student performance to inform instruction. In February 2012, we released the “Evidence for the Classroom” Request for Proposals and awarded five grants the following December, summarized here. We are now accepting preliminary proposals for Evidence for the Classroom grants under the same call, with a deadline of June 11, 2013.
The Evidence for the Classroom RFP seeks to address the gap in the research literature on whether, when, and how student data informs classroom instruction. Many “data-based decision making” reforms are premised on the idea that teachers can effectively use student data. However, there is a dearth of research on how teachers use student data to improve student outcomes, and on the conditions and contexts that support or impede successful use. With this general concern in mind, we are funding research grants, of up to $300,000, on teachers’ use of student performance data from kindergarten through 8th grade.
The current Evidence for the Classroom RFP includes information on eligibility criteria and how to apply. For remaining questions on the RFP or for other Data Use related questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For investigators interested in data use questions that fall outside the scope of the RFP, we continue to welcome proposals within our broader focus area, Organizational Learning in Schools, School Systems, and Higher Education Institutions.