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Publications

The SLDS team produces various types of products to capture best practices from the field and meet the evolving needs of the community. This page includes Best Practices, Guides, Issue Briefs, State Spotlights, and Target Team publications. Select from the bar below to explore our growing library. Please contact Kristen King with suggestions for future products.

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Implementing a Research Agenda
Implementing a Research Agenda
November 2016
Implementing a Research Agenda

Research agendas help SLDS teams and their states align SLDS work with state strategic goals and policy priorities, plan and prioritize research projects, and respond to data requests from researchers. This brief describes key steps and considerations for communicating and carrying out a research agenda that an SLDS can support.

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SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers
SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers
July 2016
SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers

The SLDS Data Use Standards detail a set of essential standards required by educators to effectively use data to inform instructional and programmatic decisions. The Master Standards for Teachers highlights the absolutely essential subset of standards that teachers need to know and includes examples showing how teachers can apply the standards in their work.

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Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data
Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data
July 2016
Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data

As the demand to connect education and employment data grows, states are navigating the challenges of locating essential data across a number of sources as well as establishing agreements and technical processes. This brief describes common sources of workforce data and processes states use to link data across education and workforce programs.

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Strategies for Data System Sustainability
Strategies for Data System Sustainability
June 2016
Strategies for Data System Sustainability

States can face many obstacles to sustaining statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) after initial funding sources have run out and start-up project goals have been met. This brief presents three scenarios inspired by challenges encountered by many states as they work to maintain and enhance their data systems over time. For each scenario, the brief identifies root causes of the situation, strategies to address the situation and sustain the data system, and recommendations for avoiding similar circumstances in the future.

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Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings
Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings
June 2016
Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings

Setting standards and procedures for effective meetings at the beginning of a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) project helps the project to run efficiently. A well-run meeting facilitates communication and decisionmaking, and it helps set expectations. It can also be a time to identify project risks and discuss mitigation strategies. This brief offers guidelines that will help SLDS teams establish and maintain effective meetings.

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Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements
Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements
June 2016
Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements

States may decide to include new types of data in their statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) for a variety of reasons, including new reporting requirements or state policy priorities. This brief provides a checklist of important steps and considerations for teams to address when adding and using new data in their data systems.

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Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'
Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'
March 2016
Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'

In response to data security concerns, many states are considering ways to allow individuals to remove their personal information from certain statewide data collections or data products. These "opt out" regulations—and the variety of data-related activities they can cover—present challenges for statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) teams, who need to ensure that personal data are collected and used appropriately. This brief provides an overview of the data collections and data uses that are often part of opt-out measures. It also examines strategies that states are developing to handle opt-out preferences in their SLDSs and ensure that data are properly managed.

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Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support
Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support
March 2016
Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support

As states with statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) receive more data requests from researchers, developing a research agenda can help states strategically manage data requests to best support their policy goals and the data system’s objectives. A research agenda is a plan that focuses on issues and ideas that are of greatest current interest or need. This brief provides a step-by-step process for developing or improving a research agenda that the SLDS can support.

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A Primer on Distinct Count of Children
A Primer on Distinct Count of Children
November 2015
A Primer on Distinct Count of Children

Knowing how many distinct children have been served by one or more early childhood programs and/or services is a foundational metric for a host of early childhood policy and programmatic analyses. This document defines "Distinct Count" and describes the factors contributing to a distinct count.

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Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees
Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees
September 2015
Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees

Most Head Start grantees make use of an information technology vendor or vendor products to collect and report data as required by federal mandates. This brief provides suggestions for the contents of requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts for data collection and reporting work, particularly as it relates to Head Start programs and data integration needs with an early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS).

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Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors
Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors
August 2015
Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors

Head Start is one of the most comprehensive early childhood programs offering services to children and families. Head Start grantees often contract with multiple information technology vendors for data-related services, which can make obtaining Head Start data for early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDSs) challenging. This brief provides tips for how state ECIDS project teams can partner with Head Start grantees to obtain data from vendors.

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Target Team

Target Team documents provides content that focuses on engaging stakeholders, data use, and sustainability within an SLDS context.

The Framework for Data Systems
The Framework for Data Systems
May 2014
The Framework for Data Systems

The Framework for Data Systems includes the components necessary to build and support an effective SLDS. This publication describes the six key framework components: Purpose/Vision, Stakeholder Engagement, Data Governance, System Design, Data Use, and Sustainability.

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Total Cost of Ownership
Total Cost of Ownership: An Important Piece of Any Sustainability Plan
April 2014
Total Cost of Ownership: An Important Piece of Any Sustainability Plan

As with any development of education data systems, it is important to know and articulate what is needed for the ongoing support and maintenance of the data system, and to have the capacity to make needed modifications and enhancements to ensure its long-term usefulness and relevance. To do this, a total cost of ownership (TCO) must be defined. States need to consider not only how to quantify TCO, but also how to use this information to market the SLDS as a whole.

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Developing a Data Use Strategy
Developing a Data Use Strategy
August 2013
Developing a Data Use Strategy

This publication aims to help states detail the current status of their SLDS data use strategy and identify concrete next steps to further develop the strategy. The content is based on the State Support Team’s (SST) February 2013 Data Use Workshop at the MIS Data Conference as presented by Corey Chatis.

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State Desired Outcomes and Determine Purpose Statement: An In-Depth Look
State Desired Outcomes and Determine Purpose Statement: An In-Depth Look
July 2013
State Desired Outcomes and Determine Purpose Statement: An In-Depth Look

This is the first of several documents that take an in-depth look at the steps included in Stakeholder Land, a six-step plan for successful stakeholder engagement. While the Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit provides a general framework of Stakeholder Land, each step of the process is meant to be discussed in more detail. This document provides details regarding Step 1: State Desired Outcomes, and Step 2: Determine Purpose.

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Stakeholder Engagement & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
Stakeholder Engagement & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
May 2013
Stakeholder Engagement & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS

This brief discusses stakeholder engagement and sustainability, and how both work together toward creating a balanced and efficient SLDS. It includes state examples and SST tips on how to effectively use stakeholder engagement to support a sustainable SLDS. This publication is part of a series of three briefs focusing on the relationships among stakeholder engagement, data use, and sustainability.

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Data Use & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
Data Use & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
May 2013
Data Use & Sustainability: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS

This brief addresses the role data use and sustainability play in creating an SLDS that has long-term support. It includes state examples and SST tips on how to facilitate effective data use to establish and sustain an SLDS program. This publication is part of a series of three briefs focusing on the relationships among stakeholder engagement, data use, and sustainability.

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Stakeholder Engagement & Data Use: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
Stakeholder Engagement & Data Use: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS
May 2013
Stakeholder Engagement & Data Use: Helping Stakeholders Get the Most from an SLDS

This brief addresses the roles stakeholder engagement and data use play in creating an SLDS that is responsive to users' needs and well utilized. It includes state examples and SST tips on how to use stakeholder engagement to establish and sustain widespread, effective data use. This publication is part of a series of three briefs focusing on the relationships among stakeholder engagement, data use, and sustainability.

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SLDS Sustainability Toolkit
SLDS Sustainability Toolkit
April 2013
SLDS Sustainability Toolkit

This document is intended to serve as a companion to the Sustainability Planning Guide and the Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool, and offers resources and best practices that will benefit states as they focus on developing sustainable systems.

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SLDS Sustainability Planning Guide
SLDS Sustainability Planning Guide
April 2013
SLDS Sustainability Planning Guide

The SLDS Sustainability Planning Guide offer practical suggestions and resources for each step in the overall process of maintaining a sustainable SLDS.

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Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit: Traversing 'Stakeholder Land'
Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit: Traversing ‘Stakeholder Land’
April 2013
Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit: Traversing 'Stakeholder Land'

This stakeholder engagement toolkit guides readers through "Stakeholder Land," an imaginary board game that helps SEAs and LEAs develop a strategic approach towards stakeholder engagement.

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Best Practices Briefs

Best Practice Guides provide lessons learned and targeted strategies to help states overcome common obstacles to creating a high-quality SLDS.

Working with a Central State IT Agency to Develop an SLDS
Working with a Central State IT Agency to Develop an SLDS
March 2015
Working with a Central State IT Agency to Develop an SLDS

As the scale and complexity of information technology (IT) projects and infrastructure that support state operations grow, many states are consolidating public-sector technology operations into a central state IT agency. In this publication, SLDS states working with central IT agencies offer tips for approaching statewide IT consolidation and for collaborating with a central IT agency on SLDS work.

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Technical and Business Documentation for an SLDS
Technical and Business Documentation for an SLDS
January 2015
Technical and Business Documentation for an SLDS

Technical and business documentation provide a vital record of the purpose, design, use, and practices related to a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS). Each SLDS team will approach documentation differently depending on the needs of its system, but there are many documents common to information technology and data-related projects that can help ensure effective implementation, ongoing maintenance, and sustainability of an SLDS. This publication provides an overview of documentation processes and deliverables frequently used for SLDSs.

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Elevator Speeches
Elevator Speeches
September 2013
Elevator Speeches

Whether states are in the planning stages, in the throes of dashboard design, or wrapping up their SLDS grant, it is important to keep in mind the objectives behind the work. This Best Practices Brief discusses the exercise of developing an "elevator speech" to explain SLDS projects to high-level, non-technical decisionmakers and policymakers. It includes state examples of elevator speeches created at a meeting of FY12 SLDS grantees in May 2013.

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Effective Implementation of Statewide Standardized Course Codes
Effective Implementation of Statewide Standardized Course Codes
August 2012
Effective Implementation of Statewide Standardized Course Codes

Statewide standardization of course codes is becoming increasingly prevalent as states conduct new kinds of analyses, implement the Common Core State Standards, and link student and teacher data. Standardized course codes improve the state’s and its districts’ ability to gather long-term data on courses taken and teacher performance, while measuring the impact of both on student learning. This product provides best practices and lessons learned offered by Alaska, Ohio, and Maryland regarding the implementation of statewide standardized course codes.

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P-20W Data Governance
P-20W Data Governance
May 2012
P-20W Data Governance

Data governance is necessary for creating clear roles and responsibilities for each member of any project team: it establishes responsibility for data, organizing program area/agency staff to collaboratively and continuously improve data quality through the systematic creation and enforcement of policies, roles, responsibilities, and procedures. This SLDS Best Practices Brief provides an overview of data governance and discusses the work of and effective practices from three states experienced with P-20W data governance.

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Vendor Engagement: SLDS Best Practices Brief
Vendor Engagement: SLDS Best Practices Brief
March 2012
Vendor Engagement: SLDS Best Practices Brief

Most state education agencies use vendors in support of their education data projects. Establishing and maintaining successful state-vendor relationships are key in the cost effective creation of high quality products. In a call sponsored by the SLDS Grant Program, representatives from three states shared experiences and offered tips on establishing proactive communication, building strong relationships, and maintaining flexibility with vendors to ensure successful outcomes.

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Alternative Sources of Support for SLDS Work: SLDS Best Practices Brief
Alternative Sources of Support for SLDS Work: SLDS Best Practices Brief
September 2011
Alternative Sources of Support for SLDS Work: SLDS Best Practices Brief

Critical to the longevity and ultimate success of an SLDS is the acquisition of funding or other resources from multiple sources of support. This SLDS Best Practices Brief summarizes the tips and lessons learned shared by representatives from Arkansas, Colorado, and Texas on a monthly SLDS topical webinar facilitated by Corey Chatis of the SLDS State Support Team. Specific topics covered include supporter identification, relationship initiation, and effective communication to ensure engagement and sustained support.

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Stakeholder Communication: SLDS Best Practices Brief
Stakeholder Communication: SLDS Best Practices Brief
May 2011
Stakeholder Communication: SLDS Best Practices Brief

Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, and Oregon participated in a discussion with Robin Taylor of the SLDS State Support Team around stakeholder communications. The SLDS Best Practices Brief captures the strategies, best practices, and lessons learned from these states’ experiences.

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Spotlights

SLDS Spotlights highlight a one or several state’s achievements, products, and topics related to SLDS.

Privacy Classifications for Washington's Data
Privacy Classifications for Washington's Data
May 2015
Privacy Classifications for Washington's Data

States are increasingly under pressure to balance privacy concerns with the need to collect education data. This brief details how the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction classified its educational records according to state policy and how the Common Education Data Standards and associated tools assisted in that process.

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Linking Early Childhood and K12 Data
Linking Early Childhood and K12 Data: A State Example from Kentucky
December 2014
Linking Early Childhood and K12 Data

In Kentucky, SLDS leaders are working with early childhood programs to incorporate early childhood data into the state's SLDS and to ensure consistency and quality as the data are integrated. Although the process of integrating early childhood data from new sources is ongoing, Kentucky has already begun using its data to explore the scope and impact of early childhood education in the state.

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Showcase of Arizona's Dashboards
SLDS Spotlight: Showcase of Arizona's Dashboards
July 2014
Showcase of Arizona's Dashboards

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has been on a mission to create a "single source of truth": a system that provides accurate, consistent, near real-time data for ADE’s stakeholders, including educators, administrators, and legislators. By building on existing resources, partnering with another state education agency, engaging stakeholders, and garnering educator feedback, ADE delivered 27 interactive dashboards to nearly 300 local education agencies in under a year.

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State Approaches to SLDS Branding
State Approaches to SLDS Branding
July 2014
State Approaches to SLDS Branding

For statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs), branding can help raise awareness and recognition of the system and its role in informing the state's education system. When associated with helpful products and positive interactions, branding can foster trust, dependence, and support among SLDS stakeholders. This brief highlights the approaches several states have taken to branding their SLDSs.

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Oregon's Direct Access to Achievement (DATA) Project
Oregon's Direct Access to Achievement (DATA) Project
April 2013
Oregon's Direct Access to Achievement (DATA) Project

The primary goal of the Oregon DATA Project is to help teachers and administrators learn how to gather, interpret, and use data to improve instruction. This SLDS Spotlight highlights the phases of the Project—including training, certification, and conferences--and points to valuable resources online.

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Arkansas's Approaches to Identity Management
April 2013
Arkansas's Approaches to Identity Management

Nationwide, states are tasked with using and sharing mass amounts of data for the greatest good: to improve the education experience for students and better prepare them for success in the future. However, states are also tasked with protecting the anonymity and privacy of the same students to whom the data pertain. The Arkansas Research Center (ARC) has taken unprecedented strides to this end through the development of two identity management systems: OYSTER and TrustEd.

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Engaging Postsecondary Stakeholders
Data Use Through Visualizations and Narratives
March 2013
Engaging Postsecondary Stakeholders

Data Visualizations and data narratives help users reach a deeper understanding of the education environment by revealing patterns and trends. Narratives and visualizations also help users experience the data in a way that makes them more accessible. In this Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Spotlight, Georgia, Oregon, and Rhode Island share insights on developing resources and tools to create useful data visualizations and narratives, while training educators and others to use data effectively and creatively.

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Engaging Postsecondary Stakeholders
Engaging Postsecondary Stakeholders
November 2012
Engaging Postsecondary Stakeholders

The effective engagement of postsecondary stakeholders is crucial to the development of a successful P-20W (preschool through workforce) data system. While many states have mandated postsecondary participation in P-20W systems, all states should cultivate strong relationships among the different P-20W institutions, ensuring that postsecondary stakeholders (for-profit colleges, four-year universities, community colleges) for instance, share in the benefits of P-20W data linkages. This Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Spotlight discusses the challenges faced and lessons learned by Washington, Connecticut, Illinois, and Maine in their efforts to engage with the postsecondary community.

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State Approaches to Engaging Local K12 Stakeholders
State Approaches to Engaging Local K12 Stakeholders
August 2012
State Approaches to Engaging Local K12 Stakeholders

Engaging with local K12 stakeholders is critical to ensuring the successful development of statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS), as well as to improving utility and sustainability. Involving staff from multiple districts helps to identify, align, and leverage existing resources. This SLDS Spotlight discusses the strategies used and lessons learned by Virginia, Oregon, Iowa, and Washington, DC through efforts to engage with stakeholders.

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SLDS Spotlight: Development and Use of Early Warning Systems
SLDS Spotlight: Development and Use of Early Warning Systems
April 2012
Early Warning Systems: SLDS Spotlight

An early warning system is a data-based tool that helps predict which students are on the right path towards eventual graduation or other grade-appropriate goals. Through such systems, stakeholders at the school and district levels can view data from a wide range of perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of student data. This SLDS Spotlight discusses the development and use of early warning systems in Maine, Massachusetts, and South Carolina and offers tips for states interested in implementing one.

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Regional Service Centers: SLDS Spotlight
Regional Service Centers: SLDS Spotlight
January 2012
Regional Service Centers: SLDS Spotlight

A regional service center (RSC) can be a significant link between state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs), by performing a wide range of duties such as organizing, cleaning, and analyzing data; and designing professional development programs. This SLDS Spotlight discusses the functions of RSCs in Iowa, Oregon, and New York, including the states’ relationships with the centers and the benefits that result.

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Mississippi's Approach to Building a P-20W Data Model: SLDS Spotlight
Mississippi's Approach to Building a P-20W Data Model: SLDS Spotlight
January 2012
Mississippi's Approach to Building a P-20W Data Model: SLDS Spotlight

Nationwide, states are expanding K12 education data collection to include pre-kindergarten through higher education and workforce data, known as P-20W data. The state of Mississippi developed a P-20W data model to guide the development of an SLDS. In an SLDS Grant Program webinar, representatives from Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) outlined a process for building a data model that integrates P-20W data for the purpose of tracking education outcomes.

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Guides

Guides provide in-depth knowledge about an SLDS-related topic, and include strategies, advice, and tips from states.

SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers
SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers
July 2016
SLDS Data Use Standards: Master Standards for Teachers

The SLDS Data Use Standards detail a set of essential standards required by educators to effectively use data to inform instructional and programmatic decisions. The Master Standards for Teachers highlights the absolutely essential subset of standards that teachers need to know and includes examples showing how teachers can apply the standards in their work.

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SLDS Glossary
SLDS Glossary
July 2015
SLDS Glossary

The SLDS Glossary defines common terms related to statewide longitudinal data systems, data use, and privacy.

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SLDS Data Use Standards: Standards in Practice
SLDS Data Use Standards: Standards in Practice
July 2015
SLDS Data Use Standards: Standards in Practice

This resource contains three case studies that illustrate the essential knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors necessary to use data effectively being applied by educators in real-world settings. It is a companion publication to SLDS Data Use Standards: Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Behaviors for Effective Data Use.

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SLDS Data Use Standards: Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Behaviors for Effective Data Use
SLDS Data Use Standards: Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Behaviors for Effective Data Use
July 2015
SLDS Data Use Standards: Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Behaviors for Effective Data Use

As state and local education agencies increasingly focus on serving educators with their data systems, many face the common challenge of identifying the critical knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors needed by teachers and administrators to use data effectively. This publication aims to provide a common foundation to inform and help states develop data literacy and data use training activities for educators. A companion publication, SLDS Data Use Standards: Standards in Practice, illustrates how educators can apply the standards in real-life situations.

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Growth Models: Issues and Advice from the States
Growth Models: Issues and Advice from the States
July 2012
Growth Models: Issues and Advice from the States

An increasing number of states are developing and implementing growth models for teacher evaluation and school accountability purposes, student comparison, and federal compliance. This SLDS Guide on growth models contains strategies, best practices, and challenges shared by a working group—consisting of state representatives from Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Along with the knowledge shared by the working group, this guide describes the purpose of each growth model used by the working group states, and data elements required.

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Issue Briefs

Issue Briefs explore a range of issues related to the effective use of longitudinal education data for research.

Implementing a Research Agenda
Implementing a Research Agenda
November 2016
Implementing a Research Agenda

Research agendas help SLDS teams and their states align SLDS work with state strategic goals and policy priorities, plan and prioritize research projects, and respond to data requests from researchers. This brief describes key steps and considerations for communicating and carrying out a research agenda that an SLDS can support.

View publication

Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data
Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data
July 2016
Sources and Linking Strategies for Employment Data

As the demand to connect education and employment data grows, states are navigating the challenges of locating essential data across a number of sources as well as establishing agreements and technical processes. This brief describes common sources of workforce data and processes states use to link data across education and workforce programs.

View publication

Strategies for Data System Sustainability
Strategies for Data System Sustainability
June 2016
Strategies for Data System Sustainability

States can face many obstacles to sustaining statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) after initial funding sources have run out and start-up project goals have been met. This brief presents three scenarios inspired by challenges encountered by many states as they work to maintain and enhance their data systems over time. For each scenario, the brief identifies root causes of the situation, strategies to address the situation and sustain the data system, and recommendations for avoiding similar circumstances in the future.

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Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings
Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings
June 2016
Establishing and Maintaining Effective Project Meetings

Setting standards and procedures for effective meetings at the beginning of a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) project helps the project to run efficiently. A well-run meeting facilitates communication and decisionmaking, and it helps set expectations. It can also be a time to identify project risks and discuss mitigation strategies. This brief offers guidelines that will help SLDS teams establish and maintain effective meetings.

View publication

Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements
Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements
June 2016
Considerations for Collecting New Data Elements

States may decide to include new types of data in their statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) for a variety of reasons, including new reporting requirements or state policy priorities. This brief provides a checklist of important steps and considerations for teams to address when adding and using new data in their data systems.

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Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'
Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'
March 2016
Strategies for Handling 'Opt Out'

In response to data security concerns, many states are considering ways to allow individuals to remove their personal information from certain statewide data collections or data products. These "opt out" regulations—and the variety of data-related activities they can cover—present challenges for statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) teams, who need to ensure that personal data are collected and used appropriately. This brief provides an overview of the data collections and data uses that are often part of opt-out measures. It also examines strategies that states are developing to handle opt-out preferences in their SLDSs and ensure that data are properly managed.

View publication

Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support
Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support
March 2016
Developing a Robust Research Agenda that the SLDS Can Support

As states with statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) receive more data requests from researchers, developing a research agenda can help states strategically manage data requests to best support their policy goals and the data system’s objectives. A research agenda is a plan that focuses on issues and ideas that are of greatest current interest or need. This brief provides a step-by-step process for developing or improving a research agenda that the SLDS can support.

View publication

A Primer on Distinct Count of Children
A Primer on Distinct Count of Children
November 2015
A Primer on Distinct Count of Children

Knowing how many distinct children have been served by one or more early childhood programs and/or services is a foundational metric for a host of early childhood policy and programmatic analyses. This document defines "Distinct Count" and describes the factors contributing to a distinct count.

View publication

Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees
Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees
September 2015
Writing Requests for Proposals and Vendor Contracts: Suggestions for Head Start Grantees

Most Head Start grantees make use of an information technology vendor or vendor products to collect and report data as required by federal mandates. This brief provides suggestions for the contents of requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts for data collection and reporting work, particularly as it relates to Head Start programs and data integration needs with an early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS).

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Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors
Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors
August 2015
Making the Connection Between Head Start and ECIDS: Navigating the Vendors

Head Start is one of the most comprehensive early childhood programs offering services to children and families. Head Start grantees often contract with multiple information technology vendors for data-related services, which can make obtaining Head Start data for early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDSs) challenging. This brief provides tips for how state ECIDS project teams can partner with Head Start grantees to obtain data from vendors.

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Communicating Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) Design: Developing Presentation and Conceptual Diagrams
Communicating Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) Design: Developing Presentation and Conceptual Diagrams
July 2015
Communicating Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) Design: Developing Presentation and Conceptual Diagrams

System design is the means by which the operational needs of data contributors and intended users are translated into a technical infrastructure that will meet those needs. One effective way of communicating the design of an early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS) is through a system design diagram, which provides a graphical representation of the data system so that audiences can visualize it more easily. This brief presents two types of diagrams that can be used for communicating a state’s ECIDS design: a presentation diagram and a conceptual diagram.

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Determining Where to House P-20W+ Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems
Determining Where to House P-20W+ Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems
July 2015
Determining Where to House P-20W+ Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems

States building statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) take different approaches to determining who will host the technical infrastructure and assume primary responsibility for managing the system. Some states house their SLDSs within existing state agencies. Other states create a new, independent state office tasked with operating the SLDS. This brief explores the benefits and challenges of both approaches.

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So Your Grant Is Wrapping Up ... Now What?
So Your Grant Is Wrapping Up ... Now What?
June 2015
So Your Grant Is Wrapping Up ... Now What?

As states prepare to conclude their Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grants, there are a number of things to keep in mind to make sure that grant requirements are met and that states have laid the groundwork for sustaining their SLDSs. This brief outlines six important questions that SLDS project teams need to ask themselves as their grants come to a close. It also covers key considerations for addressing each question.

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Sustaining the Ongoing Work of the Data System
Sustaining the Ongoing Work of the Data System
March 2015
Sustaining the Ongoing Work of the Data System

This publication discusses how data systems evolve from grant projects into sustainable programs. It also identifies important considerations related to that transition based on the Sustainability Framework, which identifies four areas of focus to guide states toward establishing sustainable data systems.

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Mitigating Data System Misconceptions
Mitigating Data System Misconceptions
March 2015
Mitigating Data System Misconceptions

At the March 2015 Best Practices Conference, SLDS and Workforce Data Quality Initiative grantees shared some common misconceptions heard from various stakeholders, including legislators, parents, privacy advocates, and educators. Despite the variability in factors such as states’ political environments, population size, and progress with their data systems, many common themes emerged. This document shares those common misconceptions, as well as strategies for mitigating them.

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Maintaining Partnerships with Data System Stakeholders
Maintaining Partnerships with Data System Stakeholders
March 2015
Maintaining Partnerships with Data System Stakeholders

This brief outlines the importance of maintaining stakeholder engagement through transitions in the data system’s work and operation. It provides examples of common changes states see in their stakeholder relationships and their evolving approaches to keeping stakeholders involved in supporting the data system.

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Danger Signs: How to Recognize Potential Problems in Vendor Management
Danger Signs: How to Recognize Potential Problems in Vendor Management
January 2015
Danger Signs: How to Recognize Potential Problems in Vendor Management

For states building and maintaining a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS), the process of choosing a vendor for the project can be a long and challenging one. Replacing a vendor once a project has begun may require a large number of resources—most notably money and time. However, recognizing possible problems with the vendor early on may make it possible to mitigate the problems before the relationship sours and the desired outcomes are imperiled. At an SLDS Grant Program-sponsored meeting in January 2015, states identified several common danger signs that signal that a vendor intervention is needed.

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Vendor Management: Dos and Don'ts
Vendor Management: Dos and Don'ts
January 2015
Vendor Management: Dos and Don'ts

Most state education agencies use vendors in support of their education data projects. While what works in one state may not work in another, there are some key 'dos and don'ts' for developing requests for proposals, engaging with vendors, and managing vendor work that may increase the likelihood of producing a cost-effective, high-quality statewide longitudinal data system.

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Which ECIDS System Model is Best for Our State ECIDS?
Which ECIDS System Model is Best for Our State ECIDS?
October 2014
Which ECIDS System Model is Best for Our State ECIDS?

As states start to translate their ECIDS's mission or vision statement into system requirements, there are key considerations to carefully consider for each model. This document offers helpful tips for having a successful ECIDS data system conversation in your state.

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Effective Communications for SLDS Teams
Effective Communications for SLDS Teams
October 2014
Effective Communications for SLDS Teams

For statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS) teams, effective communications help ensure that team members are able to coordinate efforts across different departments or different organizations to build a data system that serves the needs of all stakeholders. This publication offers guidance and best practices for communicating effectively with a variety of audiences.

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Strategies for Situation-Based Communications
Strategies for Situation-Based Communications
August 2014
Strategies for Situation-Based Communications

Situation-based communications strategies help statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS) teams address changing circumstances, establish priority messages about the SLDS, and clarify roles and responsibilities for disseminating those messages. This publication offers four fictional situations based on challenges commonly faced by states with SLDS projects and sample communications strategies for each situation.

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P-20W+ Best Practices
P-20W+ Best Practices
July 2014
P-20W+ Best Practices

For some states, the challenge of linking data across the P-20W+ spectrum may be met best by creating a separate entity responsible for building and maintaining a P-20W+ data system. This document details some best practices in the development, governance, and sustainability of such systems, stemming from discussions with states that have successfully implemented P-20W+ entities.

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CEDS and SLDS – Aligning Efforts
CEDS and SLDS – Aligning Efforts
July 2014
CEDS and SLDS – Aligning Efforts

This publication details how the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) and its associated tools can help states in all phases of developing SLDSs address data management challenges. It highlights the work of two states—Kansas and North Carolina—as they use CEDS to move forward with their SLDS efforts.

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Data Quality: Striking a Balance
Data Quality: Striking a Balance
May 2014
Data Quality: Striking a Balance

Data quality and data quantity are not mutually exclusive; both are important to pursue, but given finite resources and time, states often must decide which aspects of data quality to prioritize. This publication describes the attributes of data quality and approaches to improving it.

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Quick Guide to Branding and Promoting the SLDS
Quick Guide to Branding and Promoting the SLDS
March 2014
Quick Guide to Branding and Promoting the SLDS

Long-term support and success of an SLDS happen only when its stakeholders are familiar with what the system does, understand how it benefits them, and recognize the value of its outputs. This publication provides a starting point for state leaders seeking to brand their SLDS and promote it to stakeholders.

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What is an Early Childhood Integrated Data System?
What is an Early Childhood Integrated Data System?
March 2014
What is an Early Childhood Integrated Data System?

An Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) collects, integrates, maintains, stores, and reports information from early childhood programs across multiple agencies within a state that serve children and families from birth to age eight. This document describes whom an ECIDS serves, what the purpose is, and how an ECIDS is connected to an SLDS system.

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ECDG Initial Steps to Establish Data Governance
Early Childhood Data Governance in Action! Initial Steps to Establish Data Governance
March 2014
Early Childhood Data Governance in Action! Initial Steps to Establish Data Governance

This document describes the initial, concrete steps necessary to establish data governance for an early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS). It is intended to support states beginning the process of developing their early childhood data governance program.

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Early Childhood Data Governance in Action
Early Childhood Data Governance in Action! An Introduction
March 2014
Early Childhood Data Governance in Action! An Introduction

Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems (ECIDS) allow agencies and programs to efficiently collect and use robust information about state and local early childhood programs, workforce, and child outcomes. Data governance provides a means to establish a common vision for early childhood data use in the state, with key policy and program decisions supporting that vision. This introduction defines data governance for an ECIDS, identifies who should be involved in it, and describes their roles and responsibilities. It is intended to support states in beginning the process of developing their early childhood data governance.

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SLDS Issue Brief: Unique Identifiers: Beyond K12
SLDS Issue Brief: Unique Identifiers: Beyond K12
March 2014
SLDS Issue Brief: Unique Identifiers: Beyond K12

In early childhood, a unique identifier (UID) is an identifier used to associate children, workforce, classes, program sites, and families with their respective data. This brief will support ECIDS leaders in understanding UIDs; communicating the benefit of assigning UIDs in early childhood; understanding possible approaches to assigning UIDs; and identifying key considerations in carrying out the work.

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Everyone On Board: How to Engage Reluctant Stakeholders and Stakeholders Experiencing Leadership Transitions
Everyone On Board: How to Engage Reluctant Stakeholders and Stakeholders Experiencing Leadership Transitions
January 2014
Everyone On Board: How to Engage Reluctant Stakeholders and Stakeholders Experiencing Leadership Transitions

Stakeholder engagement is one of the first challenges facing SLDS project leaders, and it is one that must be revisited throughout the project lifecycle. This publication covers several situations in which engaging stakeholders may be challenging: approaching stakeholders resistant to joining the project; working with stakeholders who lose interest in the project; and maintaining stakeholder engagement through leadership transitions.

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Answering Key Questions with an Early Childhood Data System
Answering Key Questions with an Early Childhood Data System
October 2013
Answering Key Questions with an Early Childhood Data System

In order to build useful early childhood data systems, states must start with a vision for how they plan to use the system and a list of key questions the system will help to answer. This publication outlines the process for developing key policy questions to guide the development and use of an early childhood data system, and it offers examples from states that have generated their own key questions.

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Moving Right Along: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS
Moving Right Along: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS
July 2013
Moving Right Along: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS

This document is the second in a series and explores the journeys of seven states as they work to examine and share Head Start data, both among Head Start agencies and with state agency partners.

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Effective Project Planning and Managing Change
Effective Project Planning and Managing Change
June 2013
Effective Project Planning and Managing Change

Like any project, successful implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) will require modifications to be made to the original plan. Best practices suggest planning for these changes: spending time and effort preparing for change will reduce its potential negative impact and help to secure the success of the SLDS. In this product, the District of Columbia and the State of Washington share strategies and lessons learned when faced with unexpected challenges to their original SLDS plan.

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SLDS Issue Brief: Early Wins
SLDS Issue Brief: Early Wins
May 2013
SLDS Issue Brief: Early Wins

An early win is the implementation of a small outcome or objective that can be realized quickly and early in a project’s timeframe. This SLDS Issue Brief shares the values of early wins, best practices for achieving early wins, and state examples.

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Building a Centralized P-20W Data Warehouse
Building a Centralized P-20W Data Warehouse
March 2013
Building a Centralized P-20W Data Warehouse

For over a decade, many states have tried to link data across the P-20W spectrum, but these efforts were often dominated by a single agency and thus inhibited by political barriers. More recently, some states have succeeded in linking these data by cooperating across multiple sectors to create a new independent agency (or designate an existing one) to be responsible for building and maintaining a centralized P-20W data warehouse. Two such examples are Kentucky and Washington State, whose lessons in building a centralized P-20W data system are shared in this document.

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Getting Started: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS, December 2012
Getting Started: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS
December 2012
Getting Started: Incorporating Head Start Data into an SLDS

This publication offers practical suggestions and resources for each step in the overall process of integrating Head Start data into an SLDS. In a series of calls sponsored by the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Grant Program, state representatives shared experiences and offered tips on engaging Head Start in an SLDS. This document addresses the topics discussed in these calls, including communication and engagement strategies; vendor collaboration; pilot approaches; and providing incentives.

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Centralized vs. Federated: State Approaches to P-20W+ Data Systems Updated
Centralized vs. Federated: State Approaches to P-20W+ Data Systems Updated
September 2016
Centralized vs. Federated: State Approaches to P-20W+ Data Systems Updated

This document is intended to help state agencies through the process of determining whether a centralized or federated model (or a hybrid approach) will best suit their environment and stakeholder needs. This issue brief addresses key questions that should be considered early in the development of a P-20W+ system and describes how federated and centralized models bring together data from agencies across a state's P-20W+ environment and make those data useful for and accessible to education stakeholders.

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P-20W Data Governance Challenge: College and Career Readiness
P-20W Data Governance Challenge: College and Career Readiness
August 2012
P-20W Data Governance Challenge: College and Career Readiness

To illustrate P-20W data governance, this document outlines a project that many states are currently or will soon be working on: determining the readiness of students who complete high school to enter into postsecondary education and the workforce. This policy question is broken down and applied to each level of the P-20W data governance pyramid to show each group’s role in determining how to respond to this key policy question.

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Data Use Issue Brief 4
Techniques for Analyzing Longitudinal Administrative Data
July 2012
Data Use Issue Brief 4

Administrative data collected for education-related purposes differ in important ways from research-ready datasets. For this reason, analysis conducted using administrative data also requires a slightly different approach. As with preparing the data, additional work may be required, but this extra work will also allow for powerful and actionable analysis. This brief offers analysts some best practices for effectively using longitudinal administrative data for education research.

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Data Use Issue Brief 3
Turning Administrative Data into Research-Ready Longitudinal Datasets
July 2012
Data Use Issue Brief 3

While statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) have provided state education agencies and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) with valuable data for education research, because administrative data files are not created specifically for representative longitudinal research, there may be multiple steps involved in preparing the data in order to make it "research ready." This issue brief (and Issue Brief 4) share important information about the SLDS data collection process that is relevant for analysis and may be of particular interest to researchers outside of the education agencies.

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Data Use Issue Brief 2
Forming Research Partnerships with State and Local Education Agencies
July 2012
Data Use Issue Brief 2

Statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) can provide state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) with a wealth of research data. However, education agency expertise and resources are primarily focused on preparing state and federal reports and conducting analyses for state government, local school boards, and other stakeholders. SEAs and LEAs also value more generalizable education research that benefits from the combined expertise of agency staff and interdisciplinary education researchers. This issue brief draws on discussions with SEA and LEA staff and applied researchers to share helpful advice on forming effective partnerships.

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