The following profile is a representation of the California 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 Statutes
DQC Contact Schematic State Response
Download State Profile CALPADS Dashboard CALPADS Website NCES Funding:
2006   2009


The California Longitude Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) is California’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[1], managed by the California Department of Education (CDE)[2]. The CALPADS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing California’s public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, links data records from the breadth of the California public education systems. The combined data collection systems are part of a nation-wide effort to record granular public education detail over time in order to document the entirety of the 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.

California 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]  State longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data
[2] The California Department of Education serve the state of California by innovating and collaborating with educators, schools, parents, and community partners
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of CALPADS 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 (dashboard), and the data system’s current Data Quality Campaign (DQC)[1] ranking. This report considers each of these criteria pertaining to CALPADS and provides contact information to the departments and individuals who maintain and manage the SLDS.

[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 CALPADS is governed by the California State Board of Education (CSBE) to ensure that it follows ethical and secure data collection practices. The CSBE is comprised of the following representatives: [1]

  • State Board President
  • State Board Vice President
  • 8 Independent Board Members
  • 1 Student Representative

The CSBE is the governing and policy-making body of the CDE. Its members are appointed by the Governor to four-year, staggered terms that are subject to the confirmation of the Senate within one year of appointment. The CSBE is authorized to study the educational conditions and needs of the state and plan improvement of the administration and efficiency of public schools. [2]

[1] Information obtained from the CDE online site
[2] Information obtained from the CDE online site
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Data Providers

The CALPADS receives data records from the CDE. The CALPADS provides K-12 data records from each public Local Education Agency (LEA) in California. These data records are linked through the use of a state assigned unique identifier variable which is assigned to each student that enters into the California public education system. This state assigned ID is attached to California students throughout their education careers, including their higher education efforts if they continue on their education process after high school. The CDE data records contain a significant amount of information on each student, including graduation and dropout events, course attendance and completion rates, performance, demographic characteristics, and other identifier information.[1]

[1] Information obtained from the CDE online site
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The CDE 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 2006 and 2009. California was awarded two grants, the 2006 SLDS Grant and the 2009 SLDS Grant for the purpose of developing and enhancing its state longitudinal data system. The 2006 SLDS Grant awarded California $3,255,445 for the purpose of building the foundational components of the CALPADS. This funding was used for the various costs associated with developing a data system, including: travel costs, equipment costs, supplies costs, contractual costs, and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [1]

  • Participate in national School Interoperability Framework (SIF) activities, and to support its efforts to collect and submit data for the federal Performance-Based Data Management Initiative (PBDMI) through the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN).
  • Development and implementation of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)

The 2009 SLDS Grant awarded California $6,000,000 for the purpose of further expanding the capabilities of the CALPADS. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with the development of a data system, which include: travel costs, equipment costs, supplies costs, contractual costs, and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [2]

  • Analyze teacher workforce issues and trends in mobility, retention, and attrition; identify future needs regarding the teacher workforce and review and develop state policy related to the teacher workforce: new data system (CALTIDES).
  • Conduct high-quality program evaluations, including effectiveness of teacher prep programs, including traditional college, and university programs, internship programs and district-sponsored internship programs.
  • Monitor teacher assignments as required by state and federal law, including compliance with federal NCLB (2001), Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) requirements.
[1] Information obtained from the California 2006 SLDS Grant application
[2] Information obtained from the California 2009 SLDS Grant application
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Research Accommodation

Interested parties wishing to access data contained in the CALPADS must complete a preliminary data request form and submit this form electronically to the Analysis, Measurement, and Accountability Division (AMARD) of the CDE[1]. This data request form must contain the following information:

  • Contact Information
    • Name
    • Job Title
    • Agency Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email Addresss
  • Request Information
    • Type of Requestor
    • Request Title
    • Request Description
    • Purpose of Request
    • Data Type
    • Intent to Publish
    • Date Needed
    • Data Level Requested
    • Grade Level Requested
    • Cohort Year Requested
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Public User Portal

The CALPADS has create a public user portal for the CALPADS. The public user portal provides aggregate level data about various education issues within California relating to its students and education institutions. This portal is intended to provide the state’s education stakeholders include policy makers, administrators, educators, parents, students and other interested parties within California. 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 made using the portal.

CALPADS Public User Portal Evaluation:

  • User-friendliness:
    • The portal is easily-accessible through the CDE online site. The home page provides a comprehensive overview of each of the information sections provided within the portal. The portal is intuitive to use and easy to navigate. Users are provided a clear overview of the sections contained in the portal and are provided step by step instructions on how to use the tools in these sections.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The portal provided K-12 data on each school district and county in the state of California. It also provides K-12 data on the overall education outcomes of the state in general and the amount of students that are moving onto higher education or post-secondary institutions.
  • Self-sufficiency of the portal:
    • The portal provides direct access to the district and school reports that can be generated within it. In addition to this, the portal provides a connection to the CDE online site and all of the tools, resources and information that can be found within the site
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created through the portal:
    • The portal allows users to customize reports by deciding whether they would like to look at the education performance and characteristics of the entire state or a particular district or school. The portal then allows uses to choose what information will be provided within the report. Some information available to be selected include cohort year, student demographic characteristics, school personnel composition, and state assessment scores. Once the user has designated what report they would like to view, the report is automatically generated on-site.
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In 2002, the California legislature passed Education Code Section 60900 which officially created the mandate for the CDE to develop and maintain the CALPADS. The statute establishes the capabilities that the CALPADS must be capable of performing and state and federal laws the data system must adhere to. The statute states the CALPADS must meet the following goals:

  • To provide school districts and the California Department of Education (CDE) with access to data necessary to comply with federal reporting requirements delineated in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.
  • To provide a better means of evaluating educational progress and investments over time.
  • To provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with information that can be used to improve pupil achievement.
  • To provide an efficient, flexible, and secure means of maintaining longitudinal statewide pupil-level data.
  • To facilitate the ability of the state to publicly report data, as specified in Section 6401(e)(2)(D) of the federal America COMPETES Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 9871) and as required by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–5).
  • To ensure that any data access provided to researchers, as required pursuant to the federal Race to the Top regulations and guidelines is provided, only to the extent that the data access is in compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g).
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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.

California did not submit a report to the DQC in response to its survey. Therefore, the DQC is unable to measure California’s progress towards completing its elements and actions.

[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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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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