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Education Stakeholders Need Shared Access to Data

Longitudinal data is improving nationwide, but states must also help stakeholders access this data to inform decisions and improve student achievement.

Every state in the country now has a longitudinal data system extending beyond test scores, according to the Data Quality Campaign’s seventh annual Data for Action analysis. Thirty-six states—a giant leap from zero in 2005—have implemented the organization’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems. While the results are promising, Aimee Guidera, executive director of DQC, warns that building the data system isn’t enough. States must also help stakeholders, including parents, teachers and even students access this data to inform decisions and improve student achievement.

Data Awareness and Accessibility

One example, notes the study, is that 46 states do not share teacher performance data with higher education teacher preparation programs. The study also found that 38 states do not have policies around sharing data across agencies. Arkansas is the national leader in real-time data access and reporting, and Texas records college and employment data on students after they leave the district.

“Data used to have a negative perception, but we wanted to change the conversation,” says Guidera. “We don’t want data to be used as a hammer. We want it to be a flashlight to guide decision making.”

Good data is defined by DQC as longitudinal, contextual and interoperable. According to Guidera, data systems are meaningless unless stakeholders have access to them.

To view the analysis, visit the Data Quality Campaign's Web site.