The following profile is a representation of the Alabama 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, 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.
|Introduction||Evaluation Criteria||Governance and Maintenance||Data Providers|
|Funding||Researcher Access||Public User Portal||Legal Statues|
|Download State Profile||ALDS Dashboard||ALDS Website||NCES Funding: n/a|
The Alabama Longitudinal Data System (ALDS) will be Alabama’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS) and will be managed by Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics (AOEWS). The Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics (AOEWS) is in the process of being created and will be an independent state office operating under the Alabama Department of Labor (ADL). The ALDS, which is being created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Alabama public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, will aggregate data records from the breadth of the Alabama public education systems. The combined data collection systems are part a nation-wide effort to record granular public education detail over time in order to document the entirety of students’ education experience. This information is intended to be available for analysis and public policy consideration for the purpose of producing improvements in student learning at elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and higher education levels, and to optimize labor market outcomes, individually and generally.
 The Alabama Longitudinal Data System will be created to match information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2015/05/executive-order-number-6-2/
 State longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/about_SLDS.asp
 The Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics will be a separate office under the Department of Labor tasked with operating and maintaining the ALDS governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2015/05/executive-order-number-6-2/
 The Alabama Department of Labor is an executive and administrative department of the state responsible for administering state labor laws and coordinating federal programs labor.alabama.gov/
This review assesses the overall quality of the ALDS as an SLDS by considering the nature of the organization which will maintain the data system, those agencies and institutions that will provide inputs to the data system, and to which agencies and institutions the data systems’ outputs will be available. The assessment also considers the data system’s funding mechanisms, internal and external researcher data accessibility, the quality of the data system’s public user interface (dashboard), and the data system’s current Data Quality Campaign (DQC) ranking. This report considers each of these criteria pertaining to the ALDS and provides contact information to the departments and individuals who are developing the ALDS.
 The Data Quality Campaign is a national, nonprofit organization leading the effort to bring every part of the education community together to empower educators, parents, and policymakers with quality information to make decisions that ensure students excel
Governance and Maintenance
The ALDS will be actively managed and maintained the Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics (AOEWS), an office administratively housed within the Alabama Department of Labor (ADL). The AOEWS will be a separate, independent division under the ADL, led by a Chief Policy Officer appointed by the Governor of Alabama. The office is tasked with numerous duties to develop and implement the ALDS into a fully functioning SLDS. These duties include building the data repository which will collect and house the data within the ALDS, collecting, managing and reporting this data to Alabama policy makers, and performing maintenance on the data system when necessary to ensure that it remains fully functional. The AOEWS also is tasked with developing de-identification standards to ensure that no personally identifiable data is ever at risk within the data system. The AOEWS will use the ALDS to answer critical policy questions pertaining to Alabama’s education and workforce outcomes and to evaluate all public education and workforce development programs within the state. The office will also support both internal and external research studies that are designed to improve education instruction and assessment.
The AOEWS is overseen by the Advisory Board of the Office of Education and Workforce Statistics, a board which was also established by the Alabama House of Representatives in February 2016. The Advisory Board is responsible for overseeing the development of the data governance policy for the ALDS and conducting reviews on this policy annually. The board is also responsible for identifying and prioritizing which policy questions pertaining to education and workforce performance will be examined by the AOEWS. The board is co-chaired by the Alabama Commissioner of Labor and the Alabama Secretary of Information Technology. Its members consist of the following state agents and individuals:
- Chair of the Senate Education Budget Committee
- Chair of the House of Representatives Education Budget Committee
- Representative of the State Board of Education
- State Superintendent of Education
- Representative of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees
- Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System
- President of the Alabama Council of College and University Presidents
- President of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
- Chairperson of Alabama Commission on Higher Education
- Commissioner of Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs
- Alabama Secretary of Commerce
- State Service Commissioner of the State Department of Veteran Affairs
- One information technology expert representing private industry with expertise in large data systems and security
- One representative of local superintendents in the State of Alabama
- One representative of the public
 Information obtained from the Office of the Governor of Alabama’s Executive Order Number 6 governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2015/05/executive-order-number-6-2/
 See ref. 6
Once complete, the ALDS will receive data records from several different Alabama state agencies and institutions. These contributors include the Alabama Department of Education (ADE), the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), the Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs (ADCA), and the Alabama Department of Labor (ADL). These state agencies and institutions will provide the following data records to the ALDS from their own in-house data systems:
- Alabama Department of Education – K-12 data records
- Alabama Community College System – Higher-Ed data records
- Alabama Commission on Higher Education – Higher-Ed data records
- Alabama Department of Children’s Affairs – Early Childhood data records
- Alabama Department of Labor – Workforce data records
The ADE will provide data records to the ALDS from its K-12 longitudinal data system, a data system which records information on all Alabama students participating in the state’s public primary and secondary education system. This K-12 longitudinal data system was created in 2003 and utilizes a unique student identifier to record longitudinal data about Alabama’s K-12 students. In 2005, all public K-12 Alabama students were assigned a unique state student identifier which is incorporated into this K-12 longitudinal data system. The ACCS will provide data records to the ALDS from its extensive data warehouse which contains data on students from all two-year public colleges in Alabama. The data collected in this warehouse contains information on credit student enrollment, student financial aid, student completions and student registration and performance. This warehouse also contains demographic and socioeconomic data on all students participating in the state’s two-year public colleges. The ACHE will provide data records to the ALDS from the Alabama Statewide Student Database, an electronic student unit record system which was created in 1996. All Alabama public two-year and four-year universities and colleges are required to provide student information to the database. The ADCA will provide data records through its in-house data system which collects information on Alabama children and families. The ADL will provide data records from its wage record and unemployment databases, which collect information on all registered citizens in the state of Alabama. The AOEWS plans to link these various data records through use of a matching algorithm that looks to variety of indicators to provide a quality match of individual records. 
 Information obtained from Alabama’s 2012 SLDS Grant application alabamaschoolconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/SLDSGrantApplicationPrintableVersion.pdf
 See ref. 8
The ADE applied for federal funding through the Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant program administered by the Institute of Education Sciences, an agency of the United States Department of Education, in 2015 but was not awarded a federal grant. Despite this setback, the ADE has continued to move forward with the development of the ALDS and is looking towards other options to obtain funding for the data system.
Information provided by the Alabama School Connection nonprofit new organization alabamaschoolconnection.org/2015/09/28/alabama-moving-forward-on-p-20w-database-without-federal-grant-money/
Once completed, qualified researchers will be encouraged to study de-identified data sets contained within the ALDS to analyze trends relating to student performance in the public Alabama education system and these students’ subsequent labor force outcomes. Researchers will be required to meet certain background checks, must have adequate institutional affiliation, and must adhere to all security requirements established by the AOEWS.
 See ref. 8
Public User Portal
The ALDS has not created a public user portal that provides aggregate level student information from the ALDS. However, the ADE has created a public user portal, the ADE Data Center, which provides aggregate level student information from its K-12 longitudinal data system. The ADE Data Center was created to provide information and reports to Alabama educators, policy makers, teachers, parents, school districts and any other parties interested in the state’s public primary and secondary education system. The quality of the ADE Data Center will be evaluated using several different criteria which include: the user friendliness of the portal, the extent of data offered by the portal, whether the portal is self-sufficient or relies upon other webpages to provide information, and the extent of customizable reports that can be created using the portal.
- The home page of the ADE Data Center explains the purpose of the public user portal and the type of information that can be found within the portal. The information within the portal is easily accessible and clearly described to aid users searching through the portal. The data tools provided by the portal are also clearly described to allow users to utilize them effectively and efficiently.
- Extend of data offered:
- The ADE Data Center provides reports on student assessment tests, enrollment records, graduation and dropout rates, discipline rates, school system funding, and state overview reports. The portal also provides links to additional education reports such as the ACHE’s Student Database reports which provide information on student performance and other key metrics about students participating in the Alabama public higher education system.
- Self-sufficiency of the portal:
- The ADE Data Center provides direct access to most of the data tools and reports listed on its homepage and provides direct links to the sources of the other data tools and reports listed on the homepage. In addition to this information, the portal lists a number of quick links to related education resources which can be used to analyze Alabama student learning.
- Extent of customizable reports that can be created using the ADE Data Center:
- The ADE Data Center allows interested parties to create customizable aggregate student level reports using its data tools. These data tools allow the user to change several input variables to specify the type of education information they would like to view. These variables include academic graduation year of a student cohort, various outcome measures to evaluate student performance, class subjects and state or specific school evaluations.
 Information obtained by analyzing the ADE Data Center alsde.edu/dept/data/Pages/home.aspx
In May 2015, the Governor of Alabama executed Executive Order Number 6 which ordered the development of a statewide longitudinal data system and the creation of the AOEWS to oversee and maintain the data system. The initial paragraph of the executive order states:
“A statewide longitudinal data system (hereafter known as the Alabama P-20W Longitudinal Data System) is hereby created to match information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment. The purposes of the Alabama P-20W Longitudinal Data System include developing a state talent pipeline capable of ensuring that all Alabama students graduate from school being college and career ready, improving decision-making on educational programs, making decisions based upon validated and objective measures of student outcomes, and permitting qualified researchers to collaboratively evaluate the success of state programs. All student information will be protected, safeguarded, kept confidential, and used only by appropriate educational and workforce authorities in order to serve the best interests of students, in accordance with state and federal law.” (Alabama Executive Order Number 6)
The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national advocacy organization that evaluates each state’s longitudinal data system to determine how effectively each state uses their data system for education improvement purposes. The DQC’s annual survey, Data for Action (DFA), measures each state’s progress towards implementing the 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems and the Ten State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use, a set of elements and policy actions proposed to produce quality data systems and increase student achievement within in each state.
Alabama has currently met each of the 10 essential elements:
- Element 1 – Statewide student identifier
- Element 2 – Student-level enrollment data
- Element 3 – Student-level test data
- Element 4 – Information on untested students
- Element 5 – Statewide teacher identifier with a teacher-student match
- Element 6 – Student-level course completion data
- Element 7 – Student-level SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement exam data
- Element 8 – Student-level graduation and dropout data
- Element 9 – Ability to match student-level P-12 and higher education data
- Element 10 – State data audit system
Alabama has currently met 5 of the 10 state actions:
- State Action 2 – Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems
- State Action 3 – Develop governance structures for longitudinal data systems
- State Action 7 – Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change
- State Action 8 – Develop a purposeful research agenda
- State Action 10 – Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data
It should be noted that the Data Quality Campaign assessed each state’s progress towards completing the state actions in 2014. At that time, Alabama had failed to meet the following two state actions:
- State Action 1 – Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems
- State Action 4 – Build state data repositories
- State Action 6 – Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents
- State Action 5 – Provide timely, role-based access to data
- State Action 9 – Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data
Data Quality Campaign score: 5/10
 DQC’s annual survey, Data for Action (DFA), is a powerful tool to inform efforts in education to better use data in decision making. It is a series of analyses that highlight state progress and key priorities to promote the effective use of longitudinal data to improve student achievement
 DQC’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems and 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use provide a roadmap for state policymakers to create a culture of effective data use in which quality data are not only collected but also used to increase student achievement
Alabama Department of Education
Student Management System
SLDS stakeholders listed under Contacts (above) have been provided a copy of this State Profile and given an opportunity to provide comments in response. No comments have been received for this state to date.