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2022-24 CDE Research Priorities

Here are the California Department of Education's (CDE's) research priorities for 2022-24.

2022–2024 Research Priorities

The California Department of Education's (CDE's) vision is:

All California students of the 21st century will attain the highest level of academic knowledge, applied learning and performance skills to ensure fulfilling personal lives and careers and contribute to civic and economic progress in our diverse and changing democratic society.

State law describes the legislative intent that data within the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) be used to “support continuous improvement of instruction, operations, management, and resource allocation” (California Education Code Section 49079.5) as allowable by state and federal laws. In pursuit of this legislative intent, as well as the CDE’s vision, researchers are encouraged to conduct high-quality research in collaboration with the CDE. While student-level data are exempt from public disclosure, the CDE has authority within state and federal law to enter into written agreements for research studies to be conducted for or on behalf of the CDE to develop, validate or administer predictive tests, to administer student aid programs or to improve instruction.

Research Criteria

The CDE may enter into select agreements with qualified researchers at nonprofit organizations, universities, and colleges to conduct studies on behalf of the CDE using CDE-supplied data. In compliance with state and federal law, the research studies conducted on behalf of the CDE must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Align with the CDE's research goals and priorities
  • Inform the policies and/or practices of the CDE
  • Improve instruction, administer student aid programs or develop, validate or administer predictive tests.

2022–24 Research Goals and Priorities

It is the CDE’s Belief and Purpose to provide a world-class education for all students, from early childhood to adulthood. The CDE serves our state by innovating and collaborating with educators, schools, parents, and community partners. Together, as a team, we prepare students to live, work, and thrive in a multicultural, multilingual, and highly connected world. Accordingly, a research proposal may investigate all student groups or it may focus on one specific group such as low-income students, foster youth, English learners, or students with disabilities.

Qualified researchers wishing to conduct studies on behalf of the CDE using student-level or aggregated data for purposes aligned with the research priorities outlined in this document will be given consideration. While the CDE has provided specific research questions under each research priority, these questions are meant as examples only. The CDE welcomes research questions related to the research priorities, including, but not limited to, those explicitly stated in this document. Given the CDE’s limited resources, the CDE will use its discretion in determining which research studies to prioritize and support and may not be able to fulfill all qualified requests.

For more information on the data request process, please visit the CDE Data Requests web page.

Questions or concerns about the CDE's research priorities should be addressed to the Office of Research Requests and Partnerships by e-mail at

Sample Questions Related to the CDE Research Priorities

Note: these questions are meant as examples only. The CDE welcomes research questions related to the research priorities, including, but not limited to, those explicitly stated in this document.


Which techniques used by schools and districts to narrow the achievement gap between students of various ethnicities, income levels, language statuses, and/or disabilities show promise?

Which student achievement gaps are growing and shrinking over time? Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, can we see geographic pockets within California that demonstrate shifts in these gaps longitudinally?

How do schools effectively engage students in specialized programs? What barriers do schools face in attempting to increase access, enrollment, and successful completion of specialized programs for students? Are there certain schools that are more effective than others in engaging students in specialized programs, and if so, what strategies are they employing to do so?

To what extent do the Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs) address student achievement gaps and district needs? To what extent are the LCAPs assisting districts and schools in addressing issues related to equitable distribution of resources and equitable student outcomes? Have districts successfully articulated goals for students and developed appropriate measures for meeting the goals stated within their LCAPs? Are the goals for students described in the LCAPs connected to particular instructional programs and services?

Do all students have equal access to a broad and robust set of courses at the local level? In cases where there is unequal access to a broad set of courses, which students have more or less access and why? Which student groups have access to Career Technical Education (CTE) courses and pathways throughout the state and how are these students performing relative to their peers who are not enrolled in CTE pathways?

What supports are provided to homeless students throughout California and how can we measure success of these students over time? How often are homeless students changing schools throughout their kindergarten through grade 12 careers and what impact does this movement have on their academic performance and progress?

For those student groups that are consistently performing lower on California School Dashboard indicators, where are those students located throughout California and what supports are they being offered? Which patterns are emerging in examining student groups that contribute to schools’ eligibility for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI)?

English Learner Roadmap

The CDE highly values data and research on English learners and is committed to the English Learner Roadmap. Specific data resources can be found on the English Learners in California Schools web page. The CDE welcomes research proposals that focus on one or more of these important areas:

Which schools and districts emulate asset-oriented approaches towards educating English learner students and what are the best practices that could be scaled up across different learning environments around the state of California? How are students enrolled dual-language immersion programs performing on statewide reading and mathematics assessments relative to similar students who are not enrolled in these programs?

What are some exemplars of rigorous standards-based curriculum that increase comprehension and participation and develop English learner student autonomy and mastery? What percentage of English Learners have access to these resources and what are the learning and performance outcomes of these students relative to others?

In what ways is the pipeline of educators skilled in addressing the needs of English learners, including bilingual teachers, being developed across California? How is capacity being built in order to address potential teacher shortages in these areas?

To what degree are educational programs (e.g. after-school programs) for English learner students designed to be coherent across schools, within districts, and across the state? Are these programs designed for continuity across grade levels and system segments beginning in preschool and continuing through elementary and secondary levels onto graduation, postsecondary education, and career preparation? Which schools and districts are promoting this alignment and what best practices can be scaled up for success across California?

Culture, Climate, and Family Engagement

What are the effects of school culture and climate on teacher retention and student outcomes? Are there specific aspects of school culture that lead to a positive learning environment, improved teacher retention, and increases in attendance and student outcomes? What techniques are used by successful schools and/or districts to transform key aspects of school climate and create positive learning environments?

What student, school, and district characteristics predict whether students are suspended or expelled? Are students who are suspended or expelled more likely to drop out and does the relationship between suspension/expulsion and dropout vary among schools and districts? Can judicious use of suspension and expulsion have a positive effect on students, teachers, and/or schools?

To what extent does parental involvement in schools lead to positive school culture and/or increase student outcomes? What types of parental/community involvement programs or policies lead to improved school climate and student outcomes? What are effective strategies for engaging parents/communities in schools in order to improve student outcomes? What types of activities do parents feel would increase their engagement and involvement in the education of their children? What types of parental involvement programs, policies, and/or practices lead to increased parental satisfaction with the education of their children?

To what extent have districts been successful in engaging a diverse and representative group of parents and the community in the creation of the LCAPs? To what extent is there evidence that the goals stated within the LCAPs reflect the parents’ and community’s goals for students? Were there challenges in or barriers to involving parents and the community in the LCAP development process? Have the LCAPs helped parents and the community to better understand district educational goals for children and district progress in meeting those goals?

Drawing on both state and local indicator data from the Dashboard and on LCAP information, is there evidence of increased parent engagement in critical school planning decisions? Using Geographic Information System (GIS) software, can these trends be mapped statewide?

The CDE’s LCFF Priorities/Whole Child Resource Map specifies the resources and systems of support focused on helping all of California’s students succeed. Additionally, the Superintendent is committed to recruiting and hiring thousands of new mental health counselors throughout the state. In what ways do understanding students’ physical and mental health, local environment, and culture of support provide insight into students’ classroom achievement? What longitudinal trends can be observed in the course of linking this information together?

Educator Quality and Retention

In California and around the nation, the teacher pipeline disproportionately under-represents teachers of color and from diverse backgrounds. Which LEAs and schools are doing a better than average job in recruiting and retaining teachers of color, and which practices are they engaged in that could be scaled up across the state?

What strategies are most effective in improving teacher and leader effectiveness? What techniques are most effective in launching these promising strategies at the school, district, county, and/or state level? Specifically, examine methods to deliver actionable feedback to teachers and leaders to improve instructional practices. Determine the effect of such feedback on teacher and/or leader practices and student outcomes.
Evaluate the effectiveness of peer assistance professional learning programs for new teachers. How effective are such programs in retaining teachers from diverse backgrounds, especially in rural and urban areas? Are such programs effective in increasing teaching confidence and competence? Do such programs improve student outcomes? What aspects of peer assistance programs do beginning teachers and mentors find to be most helpful? What issues are faced in implementing peer assistance professional learning programs?

What practices and strategies hold promise for improving retention and/or reducing attrition of effective teachers? What are the attrition patterns among teachers in schools and districts, including those schools and districts serving at-risk students? What are the characteristics of the schools and districts that are successful in retaining teachers?
What is the student group (race/ethnicity, program subgroup, etc.) access to properly assigned teachers in California? How is this distributed across the state geographically (i.e. urban, rural, suburban)?

School Finance

Examine resource allocation/re-allocation processes that are linked with positive student outcomes. Specifically, investigate the impact of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) on the distribution of school spending and student, school, and district outcomes.

What is the impact of new federal funding in 2021 and beyond for COVID-19 relief and student performance?

What is causing the overall enrollment decreases in California over the past few years?

Which student groups and grades are most impacted by these enrollment shifts?


How do teacher preparation programs from California post-secondary institutions impact learning in kindergarten through grade 12 schools? Is there variation across the state geographically for access to these programs?

Determine the extent to which access and participation in specialized programs (e.g., Advanced Placement; Career Technical coursework; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM] coursework; etc.) lead to college and career readiness and more equitable student outcomes.

Is participation in certain Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways correlated with positive post-secondary outcomes both in terms of community college, college, and university completion rates as well as post-graduation wage gains and career retention patterns?

Are the following practices correlated with post-secondary completion rates and higher post-graduation wage gains, and if so, which program is most impactful?

  • Work-based Learning
  • Internships
  • Industry Certifications

What regions of the state had the lowest levels of application or enrollment to California State University or University of California among high school graduates? What percent were eligible and did not apply? What percent were ineligible? Among those ineligible groups, what A-G areas had they not met? How does this look like by various student groups?

How has the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) impacted enrollment patterns and students’ preparation for kindergarten? What challenges do districts have in implementing TK?

Which student groups have the highest access to financial aid ad complete the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) requirement and how is this related to high school graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment and persistence?

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

What is the impact of the pandemic on students, teachers, and parents? How has distance learning impacted student learning for different student groups? Which student groups are more likely to experience learning loss due to the pandemic? How have students transitioned back into the classroom? Are there groups of students that benefited from distance learning?

How have the pandemic impacted teachers? How has distance learning impact the teacher workforce? Was there a larger turnover rate for teachers or for a specific group of teachers during the pandemic? Was there a change in hiring patterns of teachers during the pandemic?

How has the pandemic impacted parents’ level of satisfaction and involvement? Were specific groups of parents more likely to disenroll their children and enroll their children into a homeschool program during the pandemic?

Questions: CDE Data Request Team | | 916-319-0869 
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2023
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