The following profile is a representation of the Georgia 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 GA-AWARDS Dashboard GA-AWARDS Website NCES Funding:


Georgia’s Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System (GA-AWARDS)[1] is Georgia’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] governed the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH)[3]. This committee was formed by a collaborative partnership between Georgia’s education agencies and its members are the chief officers of these agencies. The GA-AWARDS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Connecticut public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system level, aggregates data records from the breadth of the Connecticut 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.

Georgia 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] Georgia’s Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System enables state agencies to link education and workforce data to answer questions critical to understanding Georgia’s future education workforce needs
[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 Alliance for Education Agency Heads is collaborative partnership between education agencies that facilitates student success by aligning policymakers, education agencies, and strategic partners to improve education outcomes
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the GA-AWARDS 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 the GA-AWARDS 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 GA-AWARDS is governed by the Alliance of Education Agency Heads (AEAH). AEAH was formed in 2006 to strengthen the seamlessness and quality of education opportunities in Georgia. The Alliance is comprised of the chief officers from the following agencies:[1]

  • Commissioner, Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)
  • Commissioner, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL)
  • Superintendent of Schools, Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE)
  • Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA)
  • Executive Secretary, Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC)
  • President, Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC)
  • Chancellor, University System of Georgia (USG)

AEAH is charged with collaborating on policies and programs that can prepare the state’s next generation of students for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century. It directs the integration and expansion of Pre-K through post-secondary activities and programs into the state’s education systems. It also informed workforce recommendations involving other state agencies. The Alliances specific functions are to:[2]

  • Coordinate efforts on policies and projects that involve multiple agencies and accomplish together what no one agency can accomplish alone;
  • Support and integrate the Governor’s education priorities and initiatives into agency strategic plans;
  • Quickly identify and address any issues / barriers to collaborative work between agencies;
  • Provide a united message about Georgia’s education priorities to agency staff, stakeholders, and the public; and
  • Coordinate and leverage work with strategic partners in furtherance of the state’s education goals

AEAH’s Data Management Committee has direct oversight over the GA-AWARDS and provides input and updates to AEAH about the data system’s activities and operations. A key function of the committee is oversee access to the data system. Currently only researchers from the agencies that provide data to the GA-AWARDS are allowed access.

The GA-AWARDS is housed within the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA). GOSA is Georgia’s designated P-20 education agency, which works to increase student achievement, school completion and life opportunities for the state’s students. GOSA maintains and operates the data system under the governance of AEAH. It works in collaboration with the all of Georgia’s education agencies to ensure that the GA-AWARDS provides meaningful education analysis and reports to the state’s education stakeholders.  The data used by the GA-AWARDS is contained within a centralized data warehouse that is operated and maintained by GOSA.[3]

[1] Information obtained from AEAH’s online site
[2] Information obtained from AEAH’s online site
[3] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
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Data Providers

The GA-AWARDS receives data records from several different state agencies and institutions. The GA-AWARDS is a centralized data system; it utilizes a centralized data warehouse to store the data records provided by these state agencies and institutions.

The following state agencies and institutions provide data records to the GA-AWARDS:[1]

  • Georgia Department of Early Care & Learning (DECAL) – Early Childhood data records
  • Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) – K-12 data records
  • State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) – K-12 data records
  • Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) – Financial Aid data records
  • University System of Georgia (USG) – Higher-Education data records
  • Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) – Post-Secondary data records
  • Georgia Independent College Association (GICA) – Higher-Education data records
  • Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) – Educator data records
  • Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) – Labor Force data records
  • Governor’s Office of Student Achievement – Post-Secondary data records

The GA-AWARDS uses a data-matching algorithm to consolidate and link the data provided by these partners. This algorithm uses several different identifying variables to perform this matching function, such as first and last names and state assigned unique student identifiers. The data system then de-identifies this linked data to ensure that no student’s personally identifiable information is contained within the data set. This de-identified student level data is only used by designated researchers from partner agencies and institutions for research purposes. This data is primarily used for research that evaluates the effectiveness of educator preparation programs, the effectiveness of strategies and interventions implemented within Georgia, and the educational background of students who experience the least difficulty transitioning to post-secondary institutions. [2]

[1] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
[2] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
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The Georgia Department of Education (GDE) 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 2009 and was awarded the 2009 SLDS Grant for the purpose of developing the GA-AWARDS. The 2009 SLDS Grant awarded Georgia $8,942,640 to establish the foundation components of a P-20 data system. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with developing a data system, including: travel costs, equipment costs and contractual costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [1]

  • Develop data collection and reporting infrastructure with a Service Oriented Architecture to enable more efficient and reliable data exchange with local education agencies and production of EdFacts requested data
  • Create an Enterprise Data Hub comprised of an Operational Data Store and Dimensional Data Warehouse to meet the transactional application needs and the longitudinal analysis needs of all education data providers and consumers across the state of Georgia
  • Implement a records matching engine to evaluate the integrity of records submitted in association with a state unique student identifier in support of a longitudinal analysis, such as calculating a valid and reliable cohort based Graduation Rate
  • Create an infrastructure to monitor and report on issues of data quality using standardized business rules executed against source data systems by a metadata driven business engine
[1] Information obtained from the Georgia 2009 SLDS Grant application
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Research Accommodation

GA-AWARDS data are limited to only approved researchers affiliated with Georgia state higher education institutions. Data requests from these sources must be reviewed through a rigorous application process in order to protect student privacy and the integrity of data usage. This data cannot be used for dissertations or theses. Data requests from approved sources must provide the following information: [1]

  • Contact Information
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email Address
  •  Organization
    • System affiliation
    • Affiliated Organization
    • IRB approval
  • Project Specific
    • Project title
    • Project description
    • Research questions
    • Purpose
    • Intended audience
    • Publication intentions
    • Timeline
    • Type of analysis
    • Methodology description
    • Presentation of results
    • Required agency data
    • Cohort years
    • Subject population
  • Data Security
    • Confidentiality and data usage agreement
    • Physical security of research site
    • Data encryption methods
    • Data security measures
    • Data destruction methods
[1] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
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Public User Portal

The GA-AWARDS has a unique user portal which the public can access to analyze aggregate level data sets pertaining to Georgia students’ education outcomes. This public portal is located on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement’s online site (GOSA). The public portal provides two dashboards, the High School Graduate Outcomes dashboard and the Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings dashboard, which the public can utilize to learn more about the education outcomes of Georgia’s students. The quality of these dashboards will be evaluated using several different criteria which include: the user-friendliness of the dashboards, the extent of information offered by the dashboards, whether the dashboards are self-sufficient or relies upon other webpages to provide information, and the extent of customizable reports that can be made using the dashboards. [1][2]

  • User-friendliness:
    • The dashboards are easily-accessible through the GOSA’s online site and are intuitive to navigate. Their home pages clearly explain what information is available through the portal and how this information can be views. Both dashboards also provide directions that clearly explain how to generate reports and charts using the dashboards’ tools.
  • Extent of information offered:
    • The High School Graduate Outcomes Report dashboard provides the following information sections: K-12 graduate outcomes, higher-education enrollment rates, post-secondary enrollment rates, remediation requirements, higher post-secondary credentials earned after five years. The Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings dashboard provides the following information sections: earnings after one year for various degree type holders and earnings after five years for various degree type holders.
  • Self-sufficieny of the dashboards:
    • The dashboards provide direct access to all information, resources and reports located within them. In addition to these sources, the dashboards provide links to the data sources that the aggregate level data was acquired from.
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be generated using the dashboards:
    • The dashboards allow users to create customizable reports about the education categories listed with them. These reports allow users to change several input variables to specify the cohort year and type of report the would like to generate. For the High School Graduate Outcomes Report dashboard, users can specify reports by district, high school, and cohort year. For the Georgia Higher Learning and Earnings dashboard, users can specify reports by type of degree obtained, type of program studied, and institution attended.
[1] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
[2] Information obtained from GOSA’s online site
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The Georgia legislature has not passed any statutes that directly address the GA-AWARDS. However, the Governor of Georgia passed an Executive Order on May 15, 2013, which addressed data sharing between the state and the federal government .The Executive Order prohibits any state agency from collecting or sharing with the federal government any personally identifiable student data. This order was passed to protect the privacy of Georgia’s students.[1]

[1] Information obtained from the Georgia Office of the Governor’s online site
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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.

Georgia 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

Georgia has currently met 7 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 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 9 – Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data
  • State Action 10 – Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data

Georiga has failed to meet the following 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 5 – Provide timely, role-based access to data

Data Quality Campaign score: 8/10

[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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Jackie Lundberg
GA AWARDS Program Manager
Phone: (404) 463 -3209

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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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