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Data Use by Middle and Secondary Students in the Digital Age: A Status Report and Future Prospects


"The questions driving this paper are: In this age of data abundance, what is the state of research on data use to support middle and secondary students' learning? And, how might science and engineering education and educational research for those grade levels adapt to the changes in data availability and use observed in the past 10 years?

We approached this review by conducting a systematic database search with the aid of an academic librarian, complemented by our own reviews of major journals. We also drew upon our own knowledge of the field, informed by a 2016 symposium we co-organized on youth learning around data science sponsored by the National Science Foundation (IIS-1541676; Wilkerson, Lee, Parikh, & Polman, 2015), and our broader involvement in the Cyberlearning (Roschelle, Martin, Ahn, & Schank, 2017), learning sciences, and science education research communities. This report emphasizes work conducted since the mid 2000's, when America's Lab Report was prepared and published, specifically examining data use in school science contexts at the 6th grade level and above. As noted in America's Lab Report, some age groups, especially at the secondary level, were poorly represented in the literature. While more research has been conducted since then, there is still a lack of research in some areas for the targeted age groups. In these cases, we discuss research with nearby age groups (e.g., late elementary or early college students). When appropriate, we also cite research from out-of-school settings that represent promising models, though they have not yet been adapted for formal school contexts."