Education Stimulus Money Spurs Development of Longitudinal Data Systems


The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a national, collaborative effort founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support state policymakers in improving the availability and use of education data to improve student achievement.   DQC’s issued sixth annual state analysis, Data for Action 2010, asserts in the Executive Summary that “states have made unprecedented progress in collecting longitudinal information that follows individual students over time.”   A February 23rd article in Education Week attributes the progress, in part, to “a big influx of money from the federal economic stimulus law” that provided funding for states and local education agencies to build or improve longitudinal data systems.    According to the Executive Summary, state policymakers now have quality data to determine what works in education and “we cannot afford to not use this information.”  DQC reports that states have not taken the necessary actions to create a culture of effective data use.  DQC provides state policymakers with 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems and 10 State actions intended to provide a “roadmap” to create the desired culture.   All 50 states have committed to implementing the 10 Essential Elements, but only 24 states have implemented all 10.  Thirteen states have implemented six or more of the 10 State Actions, but no state has implemented all 10.

To leverage current investments in data systems and ensure data are appropriately used, DQC encourages states to focus on five key priorities:  1) Implement the 10 Essential Elements by September 2011; 2) link k-12 with early childhood, postsecondary and workforce data; 3) provide teachers, students and parents with access to longitudinal student-level data; 4) share data about teacher impact on student achievement; and 5) enact statewide pre-service policies.
The DQC analysis, including a state-by-state assessment of progress, is available at the following link.

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