Florida Case Study: The Up- and Downside of Being the First*
Florida’s statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) is one of the oldest in the country, being functional since 2003 and currently ranking highly among state systems. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) rates states based on 10 elements that excellent SLDSs should have to be functional and maximized; Florida meets all 10 criteria. The DQC also rates states based on 10 actions, measuring how the state utilizes and maintains its SLDS; Florida has 8 of the 10 actions (no state has yet reached all 10). What’s more, “Florida was the first in the nation to implement all of the ten essential elements.”1 The DQC’s rating scale is seen as a good measure of systems industry-wide, and Florida is near the top by most standards.
Florida has been the beneficiary of several federal grants to establish and enrich its SLDS. Since 2005, Florida has received over $14 million from NCES and Race to the Top for various projects relating to its system. It is currently in the process of revamping and redesigning its SLDS (statewide longitudinal data systems) to make it more accessible, more up-to-date and filled with high-quality data. It’s a leading-edge system; however, Kit Goodner, who oversees Florida’s SLDS, says good-naturedly, “If it were perfect, we wouldn’t be redoing it.”
Florida is in a unique situation in that it has a great longitudinal data system, but outmoded software and processes that need updating. Federal grants and ...