Interactive Tool to Compare Academic Achievement Nationwide Debuts

Project director Steve Reardon with interactive map

Education Professor Sean Reardon has launched an interactive data tool that shows how school poverty affects educational achievement. (Image credit: Holly Hernandez)

The Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) is a treasure trove of data on 350 million reading and math test scores from third to eighth grade students from every public school in the U.S. from 2008-2016. The database was first made available online in 2016 in a format designed primarily for researchers. 

Now, all of the data is available through an interactive map that gives the public opportunities to compare three measures of educational opportunity across individual schools, districts and counties.

This initiative, called the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University, aims to help researchers, educators, policymakers and parents understand all of the data by creating their own visualizations in maps and charts that can be shared via social media, direct links and downloadable PDFs.

The data is broken down by average test scores and trends in how much average test scores change each year. The map also gives users the ability to compare learning rates, which provides insights into how much students learn from one year to the next.

All of the information contained in the database can be broken down by race, gender and family income rates, and comparisons can be made via all three categories based on disparity gaps.

The goal of this project is to find a better way to compare the quality of schools across states based on math and reading test scores. Sean Reardon, who directed the Equal Opportunity Project, wants his initiative to give the public access to information that has not previously been available at scale.

"Some states and websites provide some measure of learning rates for a community, but their data are typically based on one year of growth, and they aren't comparable across states," said Reardon. "Our learning rates are based on eight years of data, so they're much more reliable."

All of the interactive data can found on the Equal Opportunity Project's website.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.