The State Longitudinal Data Systems Research Project seeks to offer educators, policy makers, researchers, and student households with relevant information regarding the state of state longitudinal data systems (SLDS) across the nation.  With 47 states having received federal funding for the development of longitudinal public primary, secondary, and higher education data through the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), the resulting data repositories have become rich sources through which research and analysis on the effective and use of education inputs and outcomes may be performed.  In many cases additional funding has been received by local, state, and private resources and the integration of SLDS research is emerging as an important element in local, state, and national level education policy.

This project seeks to provide interested parties with a resource through which the various SLDSs may be considered.  It includes state level information regarding the organization, funding, management, interoperability, and accessibility of each state’s respective SLDS.  While there is no exclusive comprehensive standard for an effective SLDS this project holds a de facto standard as informed by NCES funding proposals.  For the purpose of this project an effective SLDS is one in which student, school, program, district and state education participation and performance may be observed at the individual level.  Further, the optimally compiled and managed SLDS makes it possible follow education activity and impact from pre-school through to the labor market, an effort commonly referred to as P-20W, and allows for individual level analysis of those education inputs impacting outcomes throughout.

While this project in no way constitutes a formal program evaluation of SLDSs or other educational programs, it does consider the condition of state efforts in forming P-20W data repositories and the resultant effectiveness use of the complied resource.  The various states employ a range of data organization and management methods in efforts to provide effective and efficient data systems.  While there may similarly be a range of completeness of SLDSs, that substantial and critical progress has been made towards optimal P-20W data coordination and accessibility is not only observable, but impressive.  These rich data repositories represent extraordinary opportunities for stakeholders, policy makers and researchers to objectively consider the effectiveness and efficiency of reforms and innovations in public primary, secondary, and higher education.

Information regarding student, educator, school, program, and district inputs and performance has been gathered and stored through public primary, secondary, and higher education for decades.  As early as the 1960’s forward thinking state education policy makers began to organize available information into data repositories of impressive scale and capacity.

Efforts to convert these data into useful resources in support of tracking education inputs and their resulting outcomes has led educators, policy makers, and researchers to seek ever more productive reforms in public education.  At the same time increasing education costs, decreasing per pupil budgets, and continually expanding labor market demands have placed significant pressure on public education and the need to do more with less is ever present.  The emergence of state and federally funded longitudinal data systems offers the promise of understanding the impact of these innovations and reforms such that improvements may become ever more predictable and probable.

This project is organized into state profiles representing the various public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS) as presented through publicly available resources of public primary, secondary and higher education, information made available to the public through the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), published research articles, other third party internet resources (as noted), and direct contact with state and federal public education officials.   It is not a formal program evaluation.

The information provided is intended for use by academic researchers, state and federal public education policy makers, educators, and student households.