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November 2006 Grantee Meeting



The Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program (SLDS) hosted its first Annual Fall Grantee Meeting on November 30-December 1, 2006, in Arlington, VA. The Meeting served as a forum for dialogue, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices, providing the opportunity for more than 30 representatives from the fourteen 2005 grantee states to share solutions and ideas with one another and to take home information on topics they identified as critical to their projects in the upcoming year. Presentations and discussions were led by members of the State SLDS project teams and other experts in the field. The topics included: Stakeholder Engagement; Data and Analyses Provided to Local Stakeholders via Secure Web Access; Identity Management; Extraction of Reliable Information from LDS; Assessing Data System's Ability to Support Stakeholder Needs; Governance Structure, LDS Project Team Organization, and System Sustainability; Data Quality; Data Dictionary and Meta Data Solutions; Leveraging Longitudinal Data; and Communicating LDS Project to Stakeholders.


Session I Stakeholder Involvement & Engagement

John Calderone, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Leslie Wilson, Maryland Department of Education
Jackie Nunn, Johns Hopkins University


Panelists presented Wisconsin's and Maryland's approaches to engaging stakeholders at all levels in their efforts to implement longitudinal student data systems. WI has been able to engage LEA staff to build grass roots support for their system by showing them the value of using data to make educational decisions. Maryland's project staff conducted an extensive needs assessment with both internal and external stakeholders who collect and use data to improve student achievement to determine the key components of their system. Key discussion points included:

  • WI and SC have both benefited from hiring respected retired educators at the Superintendent level to engage stakeholders across the state. These individuals are used to run focus groups and engage local communities.
  • KY utilizes Deputy Commissioners to make stakeholders aware about their system and show what questions the system is designed to answer.
  • In order to "reach down" to the classroom level, MD made certain to define teachers as stakeholders.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentation:
Stakeholder Involvement - WI Zip File (8 KB)
Stakeholder Involvement - MD Zip File (67 KB)

Session II Data/Reports/Analyses Provided to Local Stakeholders (via Secure Access) & Identity Management
 Eric James, Ohio Department of Education
Corey Chatis, Tennessee Department of Education
Jay Pfeiffer, Florida Department of Education

Ohio is currently releasing their D3A2 system statewide. This system provides student data to local educators in a user-friendly format and is based on extensive input from teachers and other local educators. Key discussion points included:

  • In a partnership with a large number of institutions, OH utilized intensive stakeholder group meetings and other communications to design the functionality and interface for D3A2
  • OH rolled out the first pilot to a number of its district with detailed data provided to teachers and principals (live demo was presented)
  • User access to the system is managed at the local level.
  • IBM was the vendor and they customized heavily based on the needs of OH.
  • Access to assessment data is constrained by the assessment office and their contracts with testing vendors.
  • The website is organized via a Google product.
  • OH utilized some web conferences to facilitate communication during design.
  • Most of the vendors used were in the DC area and were not local; the work was done "virtually".

Tennessee presented their TVAAS system based on the work of Bill Sanders at SAS and showed the types of reports that are used by educators throughout the state to make data-based decisions. Key discussion points included:

  • TVAAS and the LDS system supplement each other and are not redundant.
  • TN does not have standard formative assessments but is looking to pilot something soon.
  • TN is trying to establish a 9th grade cohort to calculate the NGA Grad Rate. Schools will have to identify a student as a first time 9th grader in a particular field in their system.

Florida presented their experience collecting, storing, and using student social security numbers. Key discussion points included:

  • FL does not utilize the federal government to validate their SSNs because the process is still very slow.
  • FL built "unassigned" number rules into their validation system.
  • In most cases, FL only releases aggregate data to other agencies but in a few cases there is a state law requiring that student level data be shared in compliance with FERPA.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentations:
Data Reports Analyses - OH Zip File (1.7 MB)
Data Reports Analyses - TN Zip File (157 KB)
Data Reports Analyses - FL Zip File (136 KB)

Session III Opportunities and Challenges for the Extraction of Reliable Information from Longitudinal Data Structures
 Bill Sanders, SAS Institute, Inc.

Bill Sanders discussed the history and relevance of longitudinal data systems as well as his work in Tennessee on TVAAS. Key discussion points included:

  • His methodology of projecting the "average school experience" for a student is based on state data and not school or district level data.
  • Changes in state tests are accommodated by using multiple value-added models.
  • One of the strengths of the system is that if higher achieving students are not growing as fast as other students then curriculum can be "stretched" to meet the needs of those students so that their achievement levels can rise with others'.
  • States should be careful to use the appropriate methodology to analyze student achievement gains, at all levels of analyses, but especially at the more granular, such as at the teacher level, and many simplistic models can lead educators to wrong conclusions.


Session IV Assessing Your Data System's Ability to Support Stakeholder Needs
  Kashka Kubzdela, National Center of Education Statistics
Beth Juillerat, Ohio Department of Education
Alan Simon, Metis Associates

Kashka introduced this session by outlining grant requirements 19-21. Requirement 19 is a technical requirement for evaluating (such as beta testing) that the data system does what it was designed to do and uses good business rules to ensure data quality. Requirements 20 and 21 are to develop procedures for the state to evaluate on an ongoing basis whether LDS data are meeting the information needs of the SEA and local stakeholders, and that LDS is user friendly and used towards improving instruction and student learning. Grantees are not expected to show student improvement by the end of the grant; however, grantees should be able to demonstrate that they have developed a procedure for the aforementioned evaluations. NCES does not expect grantees to contract/hire external evaluators. Ohio then discussed their evaluation RFP and the plans for developing various evaluation protocols. AR's external evaluator discussed the process they are using to evaluate the system in AR.


Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentation:
Assessing Systems - OH Zip File (1.4 MB)
Assessing Systems - Simon Zip File (1.3 MB)

Session V Governance Structure, LDS Project Team Organization, and Sustainability
  Brian Wilmot, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Trina Anderson, Michigan Center for Educational Performance & Information
Jay Pfeiffer, Florida Department of Education
Rick Rozzelle, Tennessee Department of Education

Representatives from WI, MI, FL, and TN discussed how their project teams were organized within their respective SEAs and how decisions were made. Key discussion points included:

  • TN has a Tier 2 working group of about 25 people from across program offices and a Tier 1 policy group of about 10 executive managers; their state education commissioner is appointed.
  • All changes that a data manager wants to make must be brought before the data managers working group in TN to ensure that decisions are not made independent of others in order to reduce adverse affects.
  • WI's State Superintendent's Education Data Advisory Committee meets quarterly and representatives include Superintendents, CESAs, Special Ed, Assessment, IT, School Boards, Vendors, and Teacher Unions. They have a comprehensive external communication process that is coordinated by a respected retired school superintendent.
  • MI has multiple state agencies involved in their governance process which is headed by a Policy Committee consisting of representatives from the following agencies: education, labor, budget, IT, corrections, treasury, health, and human services.
  • FL has a depth and breadth of support for their system from the Governor, legislature, and across all state agencies.
  • PA's legislature is currently working towards a sustainability plan for its system.
  • CA suggested creating a library of privacy laws and processes for sharing student level data.


Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentation:
Governance Structure - WI Zip File (64 KB)
Governance Structure - MI Zip File (220 KB)
Governance Structure - TN Zip File (20 KB)

Session VISIF Implementation Assistance

Laurie Collins, SIF Association

Laurie Collins outlined the services that SIFA provides to states on as needed basis.


Session VII Data Quality
 Neal Gibson, Arkansas Department of Education
Rick Rozzelle, Tennessee Department of Education

AR and TN presented an overview of why data quality is imperative and provided suggestions for how to achieve it, as well as examples of what can go wrong without it. AR ensures data quality through their unified data dictionary, building a culture of data quality, and providing training to staff. TN has established a data management/governance process, published a data collection calendar, focused on reducing redundant data collections, and worked to clarify data definitions. Key discussion points included:

  • FL uses an IBM tool to evaluate data and conduct data edits and reviews.
  • MI asked how far back people should be allowed to change data based on new business rules; TN responded that they allow people to go back several years. The challenge is in archiving snapshots in time of reported data so that an SEA can respond to questions about prior data submissions.
  • CA highlighted the lack of clarity in what is being asked for through EDEN.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentation:
Data Quality & Data Dictionary - TN Zip File (958 KB)

Session VIIIData Dictionary & Meta Data

John Paulson, Minnesota Department of Education
Rick Rozzelle, Tennessee Department of Education
Ben Shapiro, Kforce Government Solutions

Ben Shapiro presented the NCES Handbooks Online Customization Tool for SEAs to use in their efforts to create data dictionaries. MN and TN presented their processes for developing and maintaining data dictionaries in their respective states. MN demonstrated what they include in their data dictionary and how the system maps to other elements as well as the sources of the data. TN highlighted that their data dictionary is designed around the data management process (data managers, data collection calendar, data issues log, process documentation). Key discussion points included:

  • People generally aren't interested in the dictionary effort until you provide them with something to react to.
  • MN does not link to SIF and EDEN definitions.
  • Developing and maintaining a data dictionary requires a full time person. MN will likely utilize their EDEN coordinator for this role.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentations:
Data Dictionary - MN Zip File (304 KB)
Data Quality & Data Dictionary - TN Zip File (958 KB)
NCES Handbooks - Shapiro Zip File (1.9 MB)

Session IXMeeting Your Needs - How to Leverage Your Longitudinal Data

Jon Fullerton, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Jon Fullerton from Harvard's Project for Policy Innovation in Education highlighted the work and goals of the new center and laid out the issues states need to consider in developing and using longitudinal data systems. He emphasized that data should be used to inform policy and strategic planning and what that entails.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentations:
Meeting your needs - Fullerton Zip File (120 KB)

Session XMarketing & Communicating LDS Project at the State Level and to LEA Stakeholders

Jeff Sellers, Florida Department of Education
Tom Olson, South Carolina Department of Education

FL and SC presented their state's efforts to market their data systems throughout their respective states. FL outlined their entrepreneurial strategy where they seek out opportunities to demonstrate how their system adds and can add value and then engage those stakeholder groups. SC has engaged the services of a well-known retired SC educator to communicate the value of the system throughout the state and show how it will help schools and districts.

Download Zipped PowerPoint Presentations:
Marketing and Communicating LDS Project - FL Zip File (63 KB)
Marketing and Communicating LDS Project - SC Zip File (3 MB)