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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Office of Testing and Assessment
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Education Data
Education research has long had a poor reputation despite its many valuable contributions to policy and practice. The data to answer questions about public education have often been insufficient, poorly planned, poorly understood, or poorly funded, and the result has been confusion about what the data mean. Data on high school dropouts is a prime example—differing methods of calculating dropout rates have led to strikingly different, and often misleading, results. Two reports on that issue, as well as reports on other measurement issues, clarify the problems with education data and propose new approaches.

Completed Projects

Exploring an Integrated Descriptive Data System for Teacher Preparation (BOTA)
BOTA conducted a planning meeting in February of 2014 to explore the potential for one or more projects at the NRC for improving available data about teacher preparation, following up on a recommendation of the 2010 NRC report... Read more

Published Reports

Evaluation of the Achievement Levels for Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress  (CNSTAT,BOTA)

Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been providing policymakers, educators, and the public with reports on academic performance and progress of the nation’s... Read more

Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM EducationA Nation Advancing?  (BOSE,BOTA)

Following a 2011 report by the National Research Council (NRC) on successful K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Congress asked the National Science Foundation... Read more

Key National Education IndicatorsWorkshop Summary  (BOTA,CNSTAT)

The education system in the United States is continually challenged to adapt and improve, in part because its mission has become far more ambitious than it once was. At the turn of the 20th century,... Read more

Improving Measurement of Productivity in Higher Education  (CNSTAT,BOTA)

Higher education is a linchpin of the American economy and society: teaching and research at colleges and universities contribute significantly to the nation's economic activity, both directly and... Read more

Allocating Federal Funds for State Programs for English Language Learners  (CNSTAT,BOTA)

As the United States continues to be a nation of immigrants and their children, the nation's school systems face increased enrollments of students whose primary language is not English. With the 2001... Read more

High School Dropout, Graduation, and Completion RatesBetter Data, Better Measures, Better Decisions  (BOTA)

High school graduation and dropout rates have long been used as indicators of educational system productivity and effectiveness and of social and economic well being. While determining these rates may... Read more

Measuring LiteracyPerformance Levels for Adults  (BOTA)

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) is a household survey conducted periodically by the Department of Education that evaluates the literacy skills of a sample of adults in the United... Read more

Understanding DropoutsStatistics, Strategies, and High-Stakes Testing  (BOTA)

The role played by testing in the nation's public school system has been increasing steadily-and growing more complicated-for more than 20 years. The Committee on Educational Excellence and Testing... Read more


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