Numerous actors influence how educational policies play out in practice, but this does not mean that policies themselves are without power. Policies are crafted and enacted in part because they serve as signal and symbol: How a policy is formally codified establishes expectations, exerts norming influence, and catalyzes shifts in how issues are framed. But what happens when or if a set of policies do these things in ways that misalign with or incompletely reflect research? In this article, we leverage the issue of educational data use to examine how state and local policies may simultaneously symbolize a commitment to school improvement and signal expectations that fail to align with the broader evidence base. We discuss the implications of this disjoint for policymakers and make recommendations for ways in which policy actors can use the signaling power of policy to frame expectations in ways that more closely align with research. Login required.