District of Columbia

The following profile is a representation of District of Columbia 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 Stakeholders
Funding Researcher Access Public User Portal Legal Statues
DQC Contacts Schematic State Response
Download State Profile


The District of Columbia (D.C.) Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLED)[1] is D.C.’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] managed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)[3] , D.C.’s state education agency. The SLED, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing DC’s public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, aggregates data records from the breadth of the D.C. 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.

D.C. is one of the 47 states and territories 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 DC Statewide Education Longitudinal Data System enables state agencies to link early childhood, education, and workforce data to answer questions critical to understanding DC’s future education workforce needs https://sled.osse.dc.gov/

[2] State longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/about_SLDS.asp

[3] The Office of the State Superintendent is charged with raising the quality of education for all DC residents https://osse.dc.gov/page/about-osse

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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the SLED 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 SLED 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 http://dataqualitycampaign.org/

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Governance and Maintenance

The SLED is governed by the Data Policy Coalition[1], a committee comprised of the representatives from the key state agencies and institutions in the D.C. education system. The members of the board include representatives from the following agencies and institutions:

  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
  • Department of Employment Services (DOES)
  • Executive Office of the Mayor
  • Department of Human Services (DHS)
  • Pathways to Housing DC (Pathways(
  • C. Council
  • Office of the Chief Technology Office (OCTO)
  • University of the District of Columbia

The Data Policy Coalition makes policy decisions regarding the SLED and develops the rules and regulations governing the activities of the data system. It provides direction to the P-20W Management Committee, an intergovernmental committee that proposes policy around the SLED, sets priorities for SLED changes, oversees connections between SLED data providers, and monitors the management of the data system by OSSE.[2]

OSSE manages the centralized data warehouse that contains the data records linked through the SLED. OSSE works to ensure that the gathered data is easily available to SLED partners and stakeholders through publicly and privately assessable reports. It also works to ensure data quality by improving data reliability, validity, and consistency of the data records provided by the various SLED partners.

[1] The Data Policy Coalition develops the overall policy direction of the SLED https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/DistrictofColumbia2012.pdf

[2] Information provided by 2012 SLDS Grant Application https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/DistrictofColumbia2012.pdf

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Data Providers

The data records provided by the D.C. state agencies and institutions allow OSSE to link early childhood, K-12, postsecondary, and workforce data through the SLED. The reports provided by these linkages enable OSSE to use research driven analysis to answer questions about D.C.’s current and future education and workforce needs. The specific data records provided by the D.C. agencies to the SLED are listed as below:[1]

  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education – K-12 and higher education data records
  • Department of Human Services – Early learning data records
  • Department of Employment Services – workforce data records

These data records are contained in the SLED data warehouse, a data repository maintained by OSSE with the assistance of the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). OSSE de-identifies all data records that are linked through the SLED to generate research reports for SLED partners and stakeholders. It utilizes a unique student identifier system to allow efficient data linkages and interoperability while still maintaining strict privacy standards over the use of student data.

[1] See ref. 11

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OSSE 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 and was awarded two grants, the 2007 SLDS Grant and the 2012 SLDS Grant, for the purpose of developing the SLED. The 2007 SLDS Grant awarded DC $5,738,500 for the purpose of developing the foundational components of the SLED. 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]:

  • Refine, implement, and monitor a series of data policies to ensure the use and portability of unique student identifiers
  • Create a data warehouse solution to integrate student information systems for the SLED
  • Link assessment and evaluation systems to the data warehouse to conduct longitudinal analysis for program evaluation and value-added study
  • Expand linkages with the other systems to populate the data warehouse with special reports
  • Begin critical linkages to align P-12 data with postsecondary education data

The 2012 SLDS Grant awarded D.C. $4,000,000 for the purpose of developing and expanding the state agency data systems that provide data records to the SLED. 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[2]:

  • Finish the linkages between P-12 and postsecondary data systems
  • Design and implement an Early Warning Indicator System for at-risk students
  • Enhance data quality of the SLED
  • Create a SLED evaluation system to ensure data system integrity
  • Create P-12 feedback reports
  • Provide feedback reports to postsecondary and workforce insitutions
  • Develop a clearly articulated project management and governance structure

[1] Information provided by the 2009 SLDS Grant Application https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/Mississippi2009.pdf

[2] Information provided by the 2009 ARRA SLDS Grant Application https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/Mississippi2009-ARRA.pdf

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Research Accommodation

Outside researchers interested in conducting research using the individual level data records linked through the SLED must submit a data request to OSSE. OSSE provides a data request form through its website. Once completed, this form must be submitted to osse.datasharing@dc.gov. This form requires researchers to provide the following information:[1]

  • Contact information
  • Organization affiliation
  • Short description of research question
  • Short description of intended research methodology
  • List of datasets/data elements being requested
  • Short description of anticipated data outputs
  • Short description of how proposed research benefits DC students and aligns with OSSE’s goals
  • Names and affiliations of research team
  • List of funding sources

[1] Information obtained from the OSSE Preliminary Data Application https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/service_content/attachments/OSSE%20Research%20Data%20Request%20Form_0.pdf

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Public User Portal

OSSE operates two private portals and one public portal that provide information from the SLED. The private portals, Learn DC and My College Fact Finder, require the user to create an account within the portal before SLED information may be viewed. The public portal, named the SLED website, is operated for the purpose of providing useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within D.C. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents, students and other parties interested in education outcomes within D.C. 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].

SLED Public Portal Evaluation:

  • User-friendliness:
    • The home page of the portal explains the purpose of the SLED and an overview of the information that can be found in the portal. The portal is intuitive to navigate and provides helpful summary information about the data system and OSSE. The portal also utilizes easily identifiable links to reports and data system partner reports.


  • Extent of data offered:
    • The portal offers reports on various reports on K-12 student outcomes, such as enrollment, performance, and drop rates, and student demographic information such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The portal also links to the other private portals, LearnDC and My College Fact Finder, which provide more reports on early learning and postsecondary outcomes.


  • Self-sufficiency of the portal:
    • The SLED portal provides direct access to each of the reports listed in the K-12 ad higher education sections of the portal. In addition to this information, the portal provides a link to LearnDC and My College Fact Finder, the other portals that contain information from the SLED.


  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created through the portal
    • The SLED portal does not allow interested parties to customize the reports available through the portal through various specifications. The reports are static and must be viewed as they are provided. It appears that LearnDC and My College Fact Finder offer customizable reports but these portals are not readily available to the public.

[1] Information for this section was provided through analysis of the SLED portal https://sled.osse.dc.gov/

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The DC legislature passed D.C. Code § 38-2609 in 2007, which mandated OSSE to develop and implement a longitudinal educational data warehouse system for D.C.[1]

[1] Statute information can be found by searching through the D.C. State Code https://beta.code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/code/sections/38-2609.html#

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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.

D.C. 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

D.C. has currently met 8 of the 10 state actions:

  • State Action 1 – Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems
  • 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 6 – Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents
  • 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

Data Quality Campaign score: 8/10

It should be noted that the Data Quality Campaign assessed each state’s progress towards completing the state actions in 2014. At this time, D.C. had failed to meet the following state actions:

  • 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

[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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D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education
William Henderson, SLED Program Manager
Email: William.henderson@dc.gov
Phone: (202) 741-6417

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State Response

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