Toolkit for Effective Data Use

The SDP Toolkit for Effective Data Use is a resource guide for education agency analysts who collect and analyze data on student achievement. Completing the toolkit produces a set of basic, yet essential, human capital and college-going analyses that every education agency should have as a foundation to inform strategic management and policy decisions.

The human capital edition of the toolkit will give users insight into teacher recruitment, placement, evaluation, development, and retention. The college-going edition provides analytics for for on-time graduation trends, postsecondary enrollment, and persistence.  The toolkit also provides information about the application of general business rules for defining key data elements.

The toolkit consists of five components, each mapped against a stage in the data collection and analysis process:


Identify essential data elements for analysing student achievement.

SDP Data Specification Guide: Successful data analysis begins with proper identification of data elements necessary to answer key questions of interest.


Clean, check, and build variables for your data set.

College-Going and Human Capital Data Cleaning Tasks: Upon collecting essential data elements you must ensure that the data can be reliably used in future analyses.


Connect relevant data sets from different sources.

SDP College Going and Human Capital Linking Guides: Now that you've collected data and cleaned your data, you must merge the files together to create an analysis file.


Analyze your data sets.

SDP Code for Analysis: The final step in the SDP Toolkit for Effective Data Use is to analyze the data you've identified, cleaned, and connected.


Adopt best practices to facilitate shared and replicable data analysis.

SDP Coding Style Guide: To ensure that statistical code is easily shared across a team and is replicable by future users, SDP and CEPR recommend that you follow best coding, programming, and data management practices.

Request Access to the full toolkit

SDP trains Fellows and Institute participants to use the toolkit with synthetic data and hands-on support. Email us if you are interested in training or want to explore the full toolkit in either Stata and R.