Data use within an education-centered cross-sector collaboration

Donald G. Hackmann, Joel R. Malin, Joonkil Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine data use practices within a cross-sector initiative involving high school career academies. It discerns how partners used data to assess the public value of academies and address equity concerns. Design/methodology/approach: A case study methodology was applied to examine cross-sector activities supporting the district’s career academy reform. Data were collected through interviews, observations and document analysis. Datnow and Park’s (2018) conceptual framework involving key equity dimensions guided the analysis. Findings: Partners used data for both accountability and continuous improvement. Educators were required to document student growth for state accountability purposes, while providing evidence of the public value of the academies to the community. Data use for continuous improvement included identifying annual goals to improve academy performance. There was a lack of a district-wide focus on equity, with educators taking a passive approach to academy and career pathway selections by student subgroups. Practical implications: The findings provide insights into data use practices school and district leaders can implement to ensure equitable student participation in career academies and appropriate data use within cross-sector collaborations. Social implications: Students who are traditionally underrepresented in career fields, including students of color and females, need intentional efforts to encourage their participation in high-skill, high-wage career fields. Originality/value: This study identifies critical issues involved with data use for equity when promoting education-centered cross-sector collaboration, while also highlighting existing tensions between data use for accountability and continuous improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-133
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 8 2019


  • Accountability
  • College and career readiness
  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Data use
  • Educational reform
  • Equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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