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5.01 Networked Education Database

Projects >> Foundational (2005-2010)

EdLab pioneered the first open, automated, and ongoing classroom-level education data collection project in the country. The Networked Education Database (NED) Project will provide researchers, policymakers and practitioners with a sustainable, low-cost source of longitudinal education data by networking Internet-enabled school information systems. NED aggregates anonymous student and teacher data from heterogeneous school databases, thereby paving the way for a highly scalable source of open-access data with minimal cost to schools and researchers.

Building on the rapid adoption of instructional and administrative software systems by school districts — systems which are based on relational databases — NED seeks to overcome many of the cost and quality challenges that have limited researchers in their efforts to study critical issues in education. In particular, NED will allow for the automated collection of whole classroom-level data; data that have historically been difficult to assemble at a large scale. (Most large-scale data sets collect school level data, or sample students across classrooms).

In contrast to traditional approaches that require duplicative entry and reporting of data, NED will solicit the active participation of school software vendors. By partnering with school software providers, NED will efficiently and rapidly NED-enable research sites nationwide, significantly reducing the amount of time and effort required of districts to participate. As such, NED will test the benefits and limitations of collaboration with school software companies to more efficiently scale up anonymous data collection using existing systems already in place in school districts across the country.