A researcher wants to study the effect of Denver’s reform policies. The superintendent has qualms.

Denver Superintendent Alex Marrero doesn’t want a University of Colorado Denver researcher to access student data to study the effects of the previous decade’s education reform policies.

Parker Baxter, who directs the University of Colorado Denver’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, was the lead author of a study released last year that found significant improvements in student test scores and graduation rates during the time Denver Public Schools was most invested in education reform strategies.

Two critiques of the study were that it didn’t isolate the effects of particular strategies, such as closing schools with persistently low test scores or opening new charter schools, and that it didn’t fully account for changes in the student population of Denver, which grew by some 20,000 children during the same time period.

Baxter hopes to address both those concerns and provide better information about which school improvement strategies boosted student academic performance by using student-level data from Denver and 11 comparison districts. Federal student data privacy law allows for this type of research. Individual student data is anonymized and never reported publicly.

Read the full story from our partners at Chalkbeat Colorado.

Chalkbeat Colorado is a nonprofit news organization covering education issues. For more, visit co.chalkbeat.org.

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