An Exploration of the Alignment of SLDS Infrastructure and Data Highway To Relevant Success Indicators in Mathematics and Science

Ellen Mandinach (PI) & Martin Orland (Co-PI), WestEd

This project will examine the potential of data collected by the State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) as a way to reflect national trends-and yet still address state information needs for which each system was designed. This project will examine the feasibility of how the SLDS infrastructure might be used to collect some of the data elements related to the STEM indicators proposed by the National Research Council in the report on Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 Education: A Nation Advancing? The project explores the leverage points for action like the NCES Forum that can stimulate policy change in the data collections. Revisions designed to improve the data for national use will be weighed in terms of data quality as well as usefulness, timeliness, and burden forcing trade-offs and definition of needed supports. In addition, should an outcome be that the SLDS infrastructure cannot support some of the indicators, policymakers and other stakeholders will have clearer information about the need to establish other means. The outcome of the project will be a report, both across and within states, on the extent to which the SLDS infrastructure and data highway have the capacity to address the STEM indictors, focusing on a subset of 6 indicators that we think have the most potential. A second outcome will be a small convening that will generate action steps of what needs to be done and what might be done to plan for and implement future data collections that will address the STEM indicators.

The project will focus on the intersection of STEM indicators and the data infrastructure at the state level to address those indicators. Specifically, the focus is the extent to which the infrastructure surrounding the SLDSs data highway can support the data needed to address the STEM indicators. State data systems are considerably more robust than 10 or even five years ago. Each state has now developed a SLDS containing hundreds, if not thousands of data elements disaggregated to the school level. Some of these data are required by the federal government and appear in the federal EDFacts system. Other data elements are unique to the specific states. The project will obtain data dictionaries from states and EDFacts and use them as a foundation with National Center for Education Statistics, STEM experts, and SLDS officials to determine how existing state data collections could address any of indicators, beginning with a subset that experts say a best aligned to SLDS current and future data collections and what revisions to the state systems would be necessary. The project has identified Indicators 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 as having the most potential. An outcome will be a set of recommendations and action steps as well as a statement, from states and others, of what role the NCES Forum and other supports might play in leveraging for the needed modifications to state data collections.

See NSF award information.

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