Data for Action 2010

The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) sixth annual state analysis, Data for Action 2010, reveals that states have made unprecedented progress collecting longitudinal information but have not taken action to ensure data are used to improve student achievement.

When the DQC launched in 2005, no state had all 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems. Now, 24 states report they have implemented all 10 Essential Elements, and every state has committed to implement them by September 2011. States that implement the 10 Essential Elements have the necessary information to understand what works in education and can allocate scarce resources accordingly to improve student achievement.

In spite of this progress, the elements that lag behind are also those that are most critical to current policy discussions. Seventeen states cannot link teacher and student data, 15 states do not collect course-taking information, and 11 states report the inability to link K-12 and postsecondary data. These states cannot inform critical policy questions about teacher effectiveness and college and career readiness despite the growing demand for answers.

The results show that the barriers to implementing the 10 Essential Elements are not technical but instead require leadership and political will. This is evidenced by Idaho’s dramatic growth from three to 10 Essential Elements in just one year.

In addition to tracking state progress toward implementing the 10 Essential Elements, the DQC also tracks the 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use. No state has taken all 10 State Actions, so the rich data that states now collect are not strategically linked. Stakeholders do not have appropriate access to these data while protecting privacy, and they do not have the capacity to use data to improve student achievement. For example, although states have made some progress linking student and teacher data, only two states automatically share this information with educator preparation institutions, limiting their ability to improve programs and ensure all educators are prepared to be effective in the classroom.

To support this culture change, the state analysis identifies five key priorities that states must implement to leverage current investments and ensure data are used:
–Fulfill the 50-state commitment to implement the 10 Essential Elements by September 2011.
–Link K-12 with early childhood, postsecondary and workforce data to answer critical policy questions.
–Provide teachers, students and parents with access to longitudinal student-level data.
–Share data about teacher impact on student achievement with educator preparation institutions.
–Enact statewide preservice policies, including certification and licensure, and program approval, to bu

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