Identifying Schools Achieving Great Results with Highest-Need Students

The CORE Data Collaborative and Education Analytics partnered with the National Campaign for Highest-Need Students as part of our common focus on an equity and data driven understanding of public schools. A “one-size fits all approach” to schools misses one of the most important parts of engaging in the continuous improvement of the education system—understanding and addressing variation in student need in our schools. At the same time, an approach that considers every school to be totally unique would make it almost impossible to engage in the strategic and thoughtful support and management of schools, and every conversation would potentially devolve into unique perspectives on student need. We believe the School Needs Index described here is designed to split the difference between these two extremes. By anchoring need in an outcome of interest like students’ ability to read, write and comprehend, a needs index can help us look across schools to understand the variation of student need in a common, digestible and actionable way. We look forward to moving from the exploratory work described in this paper toward proof of concept efforts in areas like the city of Oakland.

Download the working paper here