Co-funded with the W.T. Grant Foundation
Sean Reardon's prior research has provided compelling evidence that the achievement gap between high and low-income students has been increasing over time and is now higher than at any time in the last 50 years. He has also shown that during the last 20 years, racial achievement gaps have been declining but still remain quite large. In addition, other measures of educational inequality, such as high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and college completion rates show similarly large racial and socioeconomic disparities.
Reardon argues that social scientists and policy researchers have documented national trends and patterns in educational inequality, but have not focused much on how to reduce those inequities. For the most part, this is because researchers have analyzed national or state-level data, and many of the fundamental processes that produce and sustain inequality—such as teacher and curricula selection, teacher and student assignments to schools and classrooms, and the allocation of resources—operate at the classroom, school or district level.
In order to foster new research on policies, practices and programs that are most likely to improve educational inequalities, Reardon and his colleagues have assembled a large-scale administrative database, the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), that covers every public school and school district in the United States. Most notably, 200 million test scores from all public school students in grades 3-8 from 2009-2012 are included. This project will support small grants to researchers using the data to investigate issues and policies relevant to educational inequalities.