about the project
The WestEd Decision Support Platform (DSP) is a powerful online tool offering access to education information from many different sources. It is designed to facilitate research and data analysis that supports policy and program development.
The aim of the DSP is to help California's policymakers and education stakeholders increase their knowledge about the state of the education system and sort and synthesize relevant policy research data in order to inform their decisions about policies and programs that can improve education outcomes.
The blueprint for the DSP was created in 2007, when the Stuart Foundation asked WestEd to analyze and synthesize California education policy reports, and find a way to help policymakers and other stakeholders access key findings on a wide range of topics represented in the reports.
It quickly became clear that an interactive, online tool was necessary to streamline access to the large volume of data and present it in a practical, easy-to-use format.
The tool allows users to access a variety of data from multiple sources, and gain insights into education issues based on research findings, policy recommendations, evidence on best practices, information provided by education stakeholders, and city and district demographics.
Independent communities of users can interact with a pool of common resources and collaborate through the use of data-sharing tools; for example, "binders" that allow users to save, annotate, and share content.
The DSP is structured so information resources will grow and become richer over time. Each community may contribute content that is private to its group, or made available to all DSP users.
The DSP contains abstracted findings and the full contents of a number of commissioned reports, dropout-related resources and statistics, and the publically available contents of the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC).
The DSP has created a common lexicon to organize diverse resources and types of information, so DSP users can search proprietary content along with a far wider base of research. Individual content items such as findings, statistics, or programs, as well as entire resource pools such as ERIC, may be added, updated, or removed to provide users a customizable view into the most current, cutting-edge bases of analysis and guidance.
Users can participate in generating and managing knowledge accessible through the DSP by contributing to the framework, or metadata, that helps organize information resources.
The Policy Center at WestEd is piloting the DSP with the California Mayors Education Roundtable (MRT). The MRT, an initiative of the Policy Center, seeks to improve graduation rates through building collaborative, community approaches to education. Content in the DSP focuses on data and resources related to topics that intersect with this work.
The DSP project team is monitoring the pilot and will implement functional or content-based improvements and additions to the system based on feedback from MRT members. The DSP will be released to the wider MRT community.
This project is a collaboration between WestEd staff of the Policy Center and WestEd Interactive.