Thursday, June 14, 2018
States need to assess how well its students are progressing from high school, to and through college, and into the workforce.
The fragmentation of California’s education data systems makes it nearly impossible for the state to assess how well its students are progressing from high school, to and through college, and into the workforce. A Hunger for Information: California’s Options to Meet its Statewide Education Data Needs explores the data systems in other states and issues criteria for California to consider when designing its own system.
To identify and help close persistent opportunity and outcomes gaps, it argues, the state should establish a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) that links the databases and prioritizes transparency, student privacy, and the public good. To manage this system, California should develop a state data agency or office tasked with managing a centralized data warehouse as the best option for understanding and improving equity and overall performance in education.
Reviewing the systems implemented by other states, authors Colleen Moore and Kathy Reeves Bracco find that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to designing an SLDS and each state must develop a system that meets its own history, culture and capacity. However, they identify several factors crucial to an effective and useful SLDS: 1) participation of K-12 schools, public postsecondary education systems, and the state workforce agency; 2) transparency about data security, access, and use; and 3) legislation to formalize the structure and ensure compliance and continuity.