Harvard’s Strategic Data Project to explore higher education network

July 31, 2019

With proven impact in K-12 policy and practice, SDP awarded planning grant to support college degree completion and more

Cambridge, MA (July 31, 2019)—The Strategic Data Project (SDP), an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University, has been awarded a planning grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education to explore the need for data capacity and analytic support across systems in higher education. SDP will focus these initial efforts on degree completion and long-term student success.

Now in its tenth year, SDP partners with education agencies to strengthen their internal capacity to conduct the data analysis necessary for making evidence-driven decisions. SDP will use this grant to investigate the data and analytic needs of community college systems, public university systems, state higher education agencies, and minority-serving institutions in order to accelerate student progress towards degree completion and incorporate workforce outcomes into program planning and student advising.

“Systems and institutions of higher education are committed to student success,” says Jon Fullerton, CEPR’s executive director. “But many lack the time or capacity to take the next steps of analyzing and acting on that data. The Strategic Data Project has worked for over a decade to help organizations overcome such barriers to improvement.”

Since 2008, SDP has trained and placed more than 300 data specialists at over 125 school districts, charter networks, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations across the country and around the world. Their work has made an impact in diverse areas including college enrollment, teacher preparation and retention, identification of at-risk students, and parental engagement.

“Over the last decade, we’ve created a continually expanding national network of organizations and education leaders who can learn from one another to enhance the PK-12 policies and practices that most impact students and teachers,” says SDP Director Miriam Greenberg. “We are thrilled to explore how this work could benefit higher education partners who support students not only in academic success, but also in long-term workforce participation.”

SDP’s higher education network planning grant will be led by CEPR Faculty Director Dr. Thomas J. Kane (Principal Investigator) and CEPR Executive Director Jon Fullerton (Co-Principal Investigator) with SDP Director Miriam Greenberg. Please direct inquiries to Jackie Kerstetter at jacqueline_kerstetter@gse.harvard.edu. To learn more about how SDP is driving change, visit the Decade of Data blog series and project impact page.

Funding: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is awarding $199,277.00 to support the Strategic Data Project (SDP). Learn more on the IES grant award page.

About the Strategic Data Project: Harvard's Strategic Data Project (SDP) works with education agencies to find and train data leaders to uncover trends, measure solutions, and effectively communicate evidence to stakeholders. SDP’s network of system leaders, fellows, and faculty come together to share how to best use data to make a difference in the lives of students. SDP fellows are driving data-informed change in over 125 school systems and organizations.

About the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University: The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. CEPR and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions. Learn more at cepr.harvard.edu.

About the Institute of Education Sciences: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at https://ies.ed.gov.