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The demand for more valid and useful educational indicators has grown significantly as national, state, and local agencies have moved to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education. This report addresses the question of the National Science Foundation's role in monitoring mathematics and science education. The report identifies several options for developing a system of education indicators, i.e., measures that report the condition of particularly significant features of mathematics and science education, and then assesses each option in terms of its usefulness, feasibility, cost, and compatibility with other national and state efforts to monitor educational performance. The authors recommend that the NSF should initially construct a patchwork of existing indicators to describe the status of mathematics and science education, while undertaking developmental research to create better indicators, establish an institutionalized method of collaborating with other data collection efforts, and devise procedures that ensure monitoring system results can be used by policymakers and educators.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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