The following profile is a representation of the Iowa 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 ISBE Dashboard ISBE Website NCES Funding:
2009   2012


The EdInsight Longitudinal Data System (EdInsight)[1] is Iowa’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] governed by the Iowa State Board of Education (ISBE) and maintained by the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE). The EdInsight, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Iowa public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system level, combines data records from the breadth of the Iowa 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 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.

Iowa 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 EdInsight Longitudinal Data System is an enterprise data warehouse that collects public K-12 education data for the analysis and evaluation of K-12 education outcomes
[2] State longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the EdInsight 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 EdInsight 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 EdInsight is governed by the Iowa State Board of Education (ISBE), a state board that works with the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) to provide oversight, supervision, and support for the state’s education system. The ISBE is comprised of ten members: nine voting members appointed by the governor for six-year terms and one nonvoting student member who serves a one-year term, also appointed by the governor. The ISBE oversees all operations conducted by the IDOE, including the EdInsight project, to make certain that Iowa citizens’ education interests are protected and fulfilled. The boards duties include: [1]

  • Adopting rules for carrying out the responsibilities of the Iowa Department of Education
  • Establishing standards and procedures as well as reviewing and approving educator reparation programs
  • Hearing parent and guardian appeals of decisions by local school boards
  • Adopting content standards applicable to all kindergarten through 12th grade students in accredited Iowa schools
  • Accrediting school districts and community colleges
  • Reviewing and approving the budgets of area education agencies and community colleges
  • Approving or denying charter school applications
  • Responding to concerns and input from Iowa citizens throughout the year
  • Advocating on major educational issues to the executive and legislative branches
  • Analyzing the data outlined in the Condition of Education report

The ISBE established the SLDS Core Planning Group, an advisory group to the SLDS initiative that represents key stakeholders from a variety of education settings across Iowa. The advisory group ensures that the EdInsight is used to support student growth and learning in all levels of education and complies with all laws and regulations (state, federal, local, and organizational) regarding privacy and confidentiality of student, employee and other data. The SLDS Core Planning Group also ensures that data system is transparent in its development process, governance, and data reports.

The Core Planning Group is comprised of the following twelve members:[2]

  • Michael Beranek – West Des Moines Community School District (K-12 Educator Representative)
  • Kelley Bradder – Simpson College (Private Post-Secondary Educator Representative)
  • Connie Brooks – Iowa Department of Education (State Agency Representative)
  • Brad Buck – Saydel Community School District (Public K-12 Administrator Representative)
  • Deb Fleckenstein – Archdiocese of Dubuque (Private K-12 Administrator Representative)
  • Jason Grinstead – Iowa Department of Education (State Agency Representative)
  • Mona Gude – Des Moines Public Schools (Special Education Representative)
  • Kathy Jones – Iowa State University (Regents Post-Secondary Representative)
  • Jay Pennington – Iowa Department of Education (State Agency Representative)
  • Marlene Sprouse – Indian Hills Community College (Community College Post-Secondary Representative)
  • Michelle Tressel – Grant Wood Area Education Agency (Area Education Agency Representative)
  • Dennis Wulf – Norwalk Community School District (Public K-12 Administrator Representative)

The SLDS Core Planning Group established the following ten broad priorities for the EdInsight:[3]

  1. Stakeholder awareness of system so that it can be used optimally to benefit student learning and growth.
  2. Development and implementation of system should be done in stages.
  3. System must be dynamic and flexible to support policy changes.
  4. System has to be accessible to all – including those with limited technology resources.
  5. Include student tracking beyond K-12.
  6. Data must be available to inform a broad array of decisions.
  7. Confidentiality of students and employees must be ensured and privacy of data maintained.
  8. Reports from system should be transparent.
  9. Reporting information has to include context, application and meaning of the data.
  10. Training and professional development are key components of the system so that stakeholders use data effectively and accurately.

The EdInsight is managed by the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE), the state agency that provides support, supervision and oversight for the state’s public education system. The IDOE works with local partners such as its Area Education Agencies (AEA) and Local Education Agencies (LEA) to obtain the K-12 data records that populate the EdInsight. The IDOE planned, built, and deployed the EdInsight and maintains its data warehouse at an on premise location. The IDOE also communicates with other state education and workforce agencies to develop future expansion plans for the data system.[4]

[1] Information obtained for the Iowa State Board of Education
[2] Information obtained from the Iowa SLDS Visioning and Outreach Report
[3] Information obtained from the Iowa SLDS Visioning and Outreach Report
[4] Information obtained from the Iowa 2012 SLDS Grant application
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Data Providers

The EdInsight currently only receives data records from the IDOE. The IDOE provides K-12 and community college data records from its K-12 and Community College divisions. However, the IDOE has established data sharing agreements with the Iowa Board of Regents (IBR) and the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to create education outcome reports on an ad-hoc basis. The IRB governs five public higher education institutions in Iowa through policymaking, coordination, and oversight. It has access to higher education data records from each of the education institutions. The IWD is a state agency that provides employment services for job seekers in Iowa. It collects workforce data such as employment outcomes and wage rates within Iowa. [1]

Through these partnerships, the IDOE creates High School Feedback Reports that join Iowa public high school graduates to postsecondary outcomes. These reports provide information on postsecondary enrollment and developmental course trends that help the IDOE make data driven decision for K-12 education improvement. The IDOE provides data from the EdInsight, which houses data from the IDOE’s Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI) system. The SRI system collects information on all Iowa public high school students, beginning with the 2009-2010 graduate cohort. Each of the students in these cohorts are identified by a unique state identifier (State ID) that was assigned to them when they entered into the Iowa public high school education system. [2]

The IDOE matches these students’ high school data records with their post-secondary data, provided by the IRB. The IDOE performs this matching using the State IDs assigned to each student earlier in their education career. These matched data records contain the following information about the selected student: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Free and Reduced Lunch recipient, English Language Learner, Individual Education Plan candidate. These High School Feedback Reports provide several different types of information, including: [3]

  • First Year Post-Secondary Enrollment Trends
  • First Year Post-Secondary Enrollment by Demographics
  • Trends in Post-Secondary Developmental Course Utilization
  • Post-Secondary Developmental Course Utilization by Demographics
  • Post-Secondary Progress Chart
[1] Information obtained from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign
[2] Information obtained from Iowa High School Feedback Reports
[3] Information obtained from Iowa High School Feedback Reports
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The IDOE 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 2000 and 2012. Iowa was awarded two grants, the 2009 SLDS Grant and the 2012 SLDS Grant, to develop and enhance the data system. The 2009 SLDS Grant awarded Iowa $8,777,459 for the purpose of building the foundational components of its SLDS. These funds were used to pay the various costs associated with the development of a data system, including: personnel costs, fringe benefits, and contractual costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include:[1]

  • Building a state longitudinal data system that can provide student-level data over time
  • Create interoperability between state education agencies and local education agency data systems
  • Develop a EdFacts system and four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate consistent with that proposed by the NGA
  • Create interoperability with post-secondary data systems or create consolidated P-16 data systems, in a manner consistent with the requirements of FERPA
  • Import workforce data from other sources to assess the extent to which high school graduates are adequately prepared for work or further education
  • Send and receive transcripts of student applying to post-secondary educational institutions and/or moving across state lines

The 2012 SLDS Grant awarded Iowa $3,747,281 for the purpose of further developing its SLDS. These funds were used to pay the various costs associated with the development of a data system, including: personnel costs, fringe benefits, travel costs, equipment costs, supplies costs, contractual costs, and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [2]

  • Build a P-20WSLDS including data from PK-12, Community Colleges, Post-Secondary and Workforce agencies, organizations, and institutions
  • Provide systematic feedback loops to multiple stakeholder groups
  • Establish a reporting system to identify successful districts based on PK-12, Post-Secondary and Employment Measures
  • Build a metrics-driven culture where outcome data and analysis are widely used
  • Provide high-value training, data literacy, and reports to education stakeholders
[1] Information obtained from the Iowa 2009 SLDS Grant application
[2] Information obtained from the Iowa 2012 SLDS Grant application
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Research Accommodation

Outside researchers that wish to analyze the data contained in the EdInsights system must submit a data request form to the IDOE. The requests may be denied to the complexity of the request or the type of data requested. The IDOE must ensure that any data release is not personally identifiable and compliant with FERPA standards. The data request must contain the following information:[1]

  • Name
  • Affiliation
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Purpose of request
  • Description of request
  • Explanation of how the requested data will be used
[1] Information obtained from the IDOE Online Data Request Form
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Public User Portal

The EdInsight public user porta, named Education Statistics, is operated by the IDOE and accessible through the department’s online site. The purpose of the public user portal is to provide useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within the state of Iowa. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents, students, and other parties interested in the education outcomes within the state of Iowa. The quality of the EdInsight public user 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]

  • User-friendliness:
    • Education Statistics is listed within the Data and Reporting section of the IDOE’s online site. It is clearly labeled as a tab on the Data and Reporting directory side bar, allowing users to easily access the portal. The data contained within Education Statistics is provided at the top of the page, providing users with a guide to the information contained in the portal.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The portal provides aggregate level data on K-12 education characteristics and outcomes in Iowa. This includes the following information: Student Demographic Information, Student Performance, Staff Data, Condition of Education Reports, State Report Cards, Non Student District Data, Program Data, Financial Data. The datasets are provided in excel spreadsheets that users can download for their own analysis.
  • Self-sufficiency of the portal:
    • The portal provides direct access to each of the education information categories listed in the user guide. Each category provides excel spreadsheets that users download for their own analysis. The portal also provides links to other resources that users can utilize to learn more about education outcomes in Iowa.
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created using the portal:
    • The portal does not provide customizable reports that users can use to evaluate specific education outcomes in Iowa. However, the portal does allow users to download excel spreadsheets that contain aggregate level data on various education outcomes and characteristics in Iowa. Users can modify the excel spreadsheets to look at specific areas they are interested in.
[1] Information obtained through the analysis of IDOE online site
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During the 2007 Iowa Legislative Session, the Iowa General Assembly enacted SF 588 (FY 2008 Education Appropriations Act) and HF 911 (FY 2008 Infrastructure Appropriations Act) that determine appropriations to the EdInsights. These appropriations were made from the state’s infrastructure budget to the IDOE for the development of a statewide education data warehouse to be used in conjunction with system-wide improvements for educational resources and accessibility of the resources. These acts establish that the goal of the EdInsights is to enhance the ability of states, districts, schools, and other stakeholders to make data-driven decisions that help improve student learning as well as facilitate research to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps. [1]

[1] Information obtained from the Iowa Budget Unit Brief FY 2017
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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.

Iowa 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

Iowa 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 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

Iowa has currently not met 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
  • 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
[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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Iowa Department of Education
Data and Reporting Division
Roger Peterson
Phone: (515) 326-1020

Data and Reporting Division
Kim Wilson
Phone: (515) 326-3757

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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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