The following profile is a representation of the Arizona 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
DQC Contact Schematic State Response
Download State Profile  AELAS Dashboard ALEAS Website NCES Funding:
2007   2012


The Arizona Education Learning and Accountability System (AELAS)[1] is Arizona’s K-12 state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] managed by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE)[3]. The AELAS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Arizona public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, aggregates data records from the breadth of the Arizona public education collection systems. The aggregated data collection system is part of 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 improvement in student learning at elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and higher education levels, and to optimize labor market outcomes, individually and generally.

Arizona is one of the 47 states having received public funding to create a state longitudinal data system (SLDS). Despite state-to-state differences, each SLDS shares a common purpose of supporting research and analysis with the intent of informing individual, household, and public policy decisions based on standardized criteria.

[1] The AELAS is Arizona’s comprehensive technology initiative to provide all levels of the educational community with the tools and data necessary to support education transformation, academic growth and accountability while dramatically reducing costs
[2] State longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data
[3] The Arizona Department of Education serves Arizona’s education community, ensuring every child has access to an excellent education
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the AELAS as an SLDS by considering the nature of the organization maintaining the data system, those agencies and institutions providing inputs to the data system, and to which agencies and institutions the data systems’ outputs are 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 (dynamic reporting tool), and the data system’s current Data Quality Campaign (DQC)[1] ranking. This report considers each of these criteria pertaining to the AELAS and provides contact information to the departments and individuals who maintain and manage the AELAS.

[1] 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
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Governance and Maintenance

The AELAS is actively managed and maintained by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), the state department tasked with supervising Arizona’s public primary and secondary education system. The ADE shares oversight responsibility with the Arizona Data Governance Commission (DGC), a governing body that was specifically formed to aid in the implementation of the AELAS. The DCG identifies and evaluates the needs of Arizona’s public education institutions in relation to the AELAS. It provides recommendations to the ADE about how the data system should be developed and utilized to best meet the needs of these institutions. It also provides guidelines regarding the type of technology and processes that the AELAS may use and how these technologies and processes may be applied. The DGC is comprised of thirteen members, seven of which are appointed by virtue of the positions the hold within the state’s educational institutions. The other six members are jointly appointed by the state’s Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. [1]

The ADE created AELAS to address the needs of the Arizona’s teachers, administrators, and superintendents for easily accessibly student data to support instructional and administrative decisions aimed at improving student learning and achievement. The data system enhances these Arizona education stakeholders’ abilities to efficiently and accurately analyze education data and to use this data to make data informed decisions to improve student learning in the state of Arizona. Prior to the creation of the AELAS, these stakeholders faced a lack of data interoperability between their databases and software systems. Additionally, these stakeholders did not have access to an easily accessibly secure web-based education portal to assess learning and accountability information. The AELAS has been developed to solve these problems, it provides a comprehensive statewide education data system platform that these each stakeholder can access through a web-based, secure website.[2]

The ADE provides a training and support system to these stakeholders to ensure that each Arizona education stakeholder can optimally utilize the AELAS. The state department also provides status and progress reports to the DGC about the present state of the AELAS and what development and implementation efforts are currently being conducted. These reports also provide updates on issues such as risks, budgetary reviews, technology reviews, work quality reviews and other concerns that the AELAS may be facing.[3]

[1] Information provided by the ADE
[2]Information provided by the ADE Project Investment Justification
[3]Information provided by the Arizona 2012 SLDS Grant application
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Data Providers

The AELAS collects data from all local education agencies (LEA) operating in Arizona’s public primary and secondary education system. Arizona public schools are required to provide data records to the ADE pertaining to student, staff and school performance. Student related data includes student personal and demographic data, absence and attendance rates, course outcomes and withdrawal rates. Public schools also provide data on student participation in various need-based programs such as special education, language support and economically disadvantaged. Staff related data includes teacher, principle and educational professional certifications and qualification assessments. School related data includes school descriptors such as geographic location, educational programs offered and organizational structure charts. Schools also must submit budgetary and expenditure data to the ADE. [1]

[1] See ref. 7
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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 2007 and 2012. The ADE was awarded two grants, the 2007 SLDS Grant and the 2012 SLDS Grant, for the purpose of developing the AELAS. The 2007 SLDS Grant awarded Arizona $5,954,518 for the purpose of developing the Arizona Education Data Warehouse, a foundational component of the AELAS. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with developing a data system, including: personnel costs, travel costs, equipment costs, contractual costs and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [1]

  • Supporting end-user training/on-going support, definition of policies, procedures, practices and materials relating to appropriate usage of ADE’s rich data stores, the data visualization toolsets and performance measurement methodologies.
  • Integrating the AEDW into ADE’s efforts to respond accurately and efficiently to Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) federal data collection requirements.
  • Providing professional development for ADE’s IT staff to assure the expanded AEDW’s long term operational success and supportability.
  • Expanding IDEAL to develop an ADE managed, single sign-on, roles-based authentication engine that will include the option of multi-factor authentication for the roles requiring the most robust security.

The 2012 SLDS Grant awarded Arizona $4,966,706 for the purpose of further development and implementation of the AELAS. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with developing a data system, including: personnel costs, travel costs, equipment costs, contractual costs and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include:


  • Create identify management and access security solutions (Privacy Protection and Data Accessibility, Enterprise-wide Architecture, Secure Access to Useful Data for Key Stakeholder Groups)
  • Provide user-friendly, multi-layered data visualizations (Data Use Deliverables)
  • Complete the data collection required to realize Arizona’s vision for a comprehensive longitudinal framework (Need and Uses, Data Quality, Interoperability, Enterprise-wide Architecture, Partnerships with Research Community)
  • Embark on a training program that will enable stakeholders to effectively access information (Training on Use of Data Tools and Products, Professional Development on Data Use Evaluation of Data Products, Training, and Professional Development Sustainability)
[1] Information provided by the Arizona 2007 SLDS Grant application
[2] See ref. 7
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Research Accommodation

The ADE has an established data request process that individuals must follow to use personally identifiable information contained within the AELAS. Any person or organization that wishes to utilize personally identifiable information held by the AELAS’s data systems must submit a data request packet. This packet must include a cover letter, a project narrative, and all necessary and applicable supporting documentation. The project narrative should contain the purpose of the research effort, a description of the study that the researcher wishes to conduct, the type of data that is required for the study, and that person’s or organization’s contact information. All data requests for personally identifiable information must be review and approved by the ADE’s Data Request Review Board. Any person or organization whose data request for personally identifiable information is approved must sign a data sharing agreement with the ADE before they may gain access to the requested data. For a more detailed description of the data request process, please see the URL link to the ADE’s Data Request Page located attached below.[1]

[1]Information on ADE Date Requests located at
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Public User Portal

The ADE offers a public user portal through its online site which provides information about the AELAS. This AELAS portal is operated for the purpose of providing useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within the state of Arizona. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents and students interested in the education outcomes of the state’s residents. The quality of this portal 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.[1]

AELAS public user portal evaluation:

  • User-friendliness:
    • The homepage of the portal clearly describes what the AELAS is and why the data system has been developed. It provides instructions on what information is available within the portal and how a user may access this information. It also provides easily identifiable links to all information sections accessible through the portal.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The public user portal provides overview reports on the AELAS which analyze how the data system has performed annually in relation to the expectations of its stakeholders. The portal also provides financial accountability information on the AELAS’s budgetary expenditures and presents a financial analysis that explains how the data system is improving education in Arizona. The public user portal also offers aggregate level information on Arizona’s K-12 public education system but this information can only be accessed by Arizona education participants. Users must have login credentials to access and analyze this aggregate level information.
  • Self-sufficiency of the portal:
    • The public user portal provides direct access to each of the AELAS components listed on the homepage. However, this information may only be accessed by Arizona education participants that have sufficient login credentials. The portal also provides contact information to the ADE and several new sources which provide status updates on the AELAS.
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created through the portal:
    • The public user portal allows Arizona education participants to create customizable reports through the portal. This report generation capability is not accessible by non-Arizona education participants who lack sufficient login credentials.
[1] Information provided by analyzing the AELAS’s online public user portal
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In 2010, the Arizona legislature enacted A.R.S. 15-249, which reads as follows:

“Subject to appropriation of state monies, or receipt of federal monies, private donations or grants from any lawful public or private source for this purpose, the department of education, in coordination with the data governance commission established by section 15-249.01, shall develop and implement the education learning and accountability system to collect, compile, maintain and report student level data for students attending public educational institutions that provide instruction to pupils in preschool programs, kindergarten programs, grades one through twelve and postsecondary educational programs in this state.” [1]

The statute subsequently addresses the type of data records that must be maintained by the AELAS, how accessible the data system must be and the types of third parties the ADE may contract with to develop the AELAS. The statute also requires the ADE to regularly submit development plans and progress reports to the DGC and to have a third-party auditor evaluate the ADE and AELAS on a quarterly basis.

[1] Information provided by the ADE
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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)[1], 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[2], a set of elements and policy actions proposed to produce quality data systems and increase student achievement within in each state.

Arizona 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

Arizona 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 4 – Build state data repositories
  • State Action 7 – Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change
  • State Action 8 – Develop a purposeful research agenda

Arizona has failed to meet the following state actions:

  • State Action 1 – Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems
  • State Action 5 – Provide timely, role-based access to data
  • State Action 6 – Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents
  • State Action 9 – Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data
  • State Action 10 – Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data

Data Quality Campaign score: 5/10

It should be noted that that Data Quality Campaign assessed each state’s progress towards completing the state actions in 2014.

[1] 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
[2] 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
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Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Phone: (602) 542-5393

Information Technology Division
Phone: (602) 542-2222

Data Governance Division

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State Response

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.

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