The SLDS Landscape
Today’s educational landscape is demanding; we’re living in a climate where expectations are higher than they’ve ever been before. As a country, we’ve set the lofty goal of having every child graduate from high school ready for college or the knowledge economy. And, indeed, with good, high-paying jobs increasingly demanding a college (or higher) education, a high school degree is truly necessary for a job in the knowledge economy. Widespread budget cuts are giving fewer resources to state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs), yet all are still expected to improve efficiency, improve system performance, improve student outcomes and increase transparency. How can LEAs and SEAs face the increasing challenges and overcome them to produce more successes than ever before? In a word: data. The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) founder and executive director Aimee Guidera noted, “We will never meet any of these goals, never mind all of these goals, unless we change the conversation to how are we going to use data effectively to meet them.”1
Establishing an SLDS (statewide longitudinal data system) poses several hurdles for states. Implementation of an SLDS requires that data be shared across systems that previously weren’t required to share data. This causes many logistical challenges, requiring changes in technological capabilities and increased or reallocated resources. Institutional change can come slowly. Educational data are some ...