In light of the limitations of data-driven decision making


Susanna Loeb

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Students’ experiences and the opportunities they have to learn rest on the quality of education decisions made in each class room, in each school, in each district, and in each state, federal legislature, and department of education. Who can run schools? Who can teach? What content is covered? How is it taught? Which students are in each class? When is recess? How much money is spent, on what and on whom? These are just some of the decisions that must be made and whose answers affect students. The role of research and scholarship more broadly in education finance and policy is to inform these decisions for the benefit of students. In practice, however, the influence of research is often opaque. The lack of transparency comes not only from poor decision making but also from good decision makers weighing incomplete information about the likely effects of their options with a logic about how the world works. Useful education research builds these logics and provides information about the effects of specific choices. It also identifies individuals with the greatest potential to make good decisions given this incomplete information and the need to use judgment in decision making.

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APA Citation

Loeb, S. (2012). In light of the limitations of data-driven decision making.