The following profile is a representation of the Minnesota 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 SLEDS Dashboard SLEDS Website NCES Funding:


The Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS)[1] is Minnesota’s state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] jointly managed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE)[3], the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) [4], and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)[5].  The SLEDS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Minnesota education data at the individual, institution, and system levels, aggregates data records from the breadth of the Minnesota education collection systems. The combined data collection systems are part of a nation-wide effort to record granular 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, and post-secondary education levels, and to optimize labor market outcomes, individually and generally.

Minnesota 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 Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Data System is jointly managed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Minnesota Department of Education, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
[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 Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a state agency serves as the state’s clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends
[4] The Minnesota Department of Education develops, builds and maintains collaborative relationships with schools, districts and other stakeholders through a wide variety of advisory boards, councils and committees.
[5] The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is the state’s principle economic development agency.
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the SLEDS 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 SLEDS and provides contact information to the departments and individuals who maintain and manage the SLEDS.

[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 SLEDS is governed by the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership[1], an organization made up of the statewide education groups in Minnesota, as well as the state education and workforce departments and several other private groups that are interested in the education and subsequent workforce outcomes of Minnesota’s students. The entities that comprise the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership work collaboratively to maximize student achievements in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary  education through the most efficient use of financial and human resources. The Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership seeks to accomplish this task by developing and implementing data driven decision making systems to identify and address critical education policy issues.

The Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership uses the data driven analysis provided by the SLEDS for this purpose, and has appointed the OHE, MDE, and DEED to jointly manage the SLEDS. Each of these departments must provide personnel to serve as SLEDS Coordinators, who coordinate any work projects done using the SLEDS and report to the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership’s SLEDS Governance Committee on the research, evaluation and technical operations of SLEDS. The OHE, MDE, and DEED have established service level agreements between their departments to facilitate the joint data management responsibilities of maintaining and updating the SLEDS. The departments also work in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Information Technology (MN.IT)[2], the state agency charged with information technology management.

[1] Information found within the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership online site: http://www.mnp20.org/index.html
[2] Information found within in MNIT’s online site: https://mn.gov/mnit/
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Data Providers

student level data pertaining to students in the state of Minnesota. MARSS was developed in 2006, several years prior to the creation of the SLEDS, and served as the foundational structure to the P-20W state longitudinal data system.[1] MOHE provides data records through its role as the state’s clearinghouse for data, research and analysis from post-secondary institutions within the state of Minnesota. OHE receives individual student level data from all public and most private post-secondary institutions that operate within Minnesota, as well as from the federal government and other organizations that provide information relevant to informing the state of post-secondary education in Minnesota’s education system.[2] All public and private post-secondary institutions that provide data records to OHE are required to report the student’s full name, social security number and date of birth and requested to report the MARSS ID if that student attended an elementary or secondary education in the state of Minnesota. This level of data collection allows for the interoperability between the databases provided by MDE and OHE. DEED provides data records on workers employed in Minnesota (via Unemployment Insurance Wage Detail) and customers of workforce training programs funded by the state or federal government, tracking individual unit level data using social security numbers as a unique identifier variable.

According to the MDE’s federal grant proposal to acquire necessary funds for the creation of the SLEDS, each of these agencies is intended to provide data inputs to the SLEDS, linked via a probability matching algorithm using personal identifiers. This matching allows the SLEDS to gather individual student level data on students throughout their education process as well as their labor force outcomes, creating a longitudinal system that can yield invaluable information to educators, policy makers, administrators, employers, parents, students and any other parties interested in the effects of education on the state of Minnesota. Based on the information available through the SLEDS online dashboard, the SLEDS seems to have a functional level of data interoperability between these various databases. The parties most interested with the data provided by the SLEDS are MDE, OHE, DEED and the various institutions that provide data to these departments. These state entities use this information to conduct research and analytical reporting in order to inform their education policy decisions, with the intent to improve Minnesota’s education system and the quality of the work force within the state.

[1] Information found within Minnesota’s 2009 ARRA grant application: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/Minnesota2009-ARRA.pdf
[2] https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/dPg.cfm?pageID=409
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MDE 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 2015 and was awarded two grants, the 2009 SLDS Grant and the 2015 SLDS Grant, for the purpose of developing the SLEDS. The 2009 SLDS Grant awarded Minnesota $ for the purpose of developing and creating the foundational components of the SLEDS. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with the creation of 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:

  • Creation of an enterprise collections system—Student Education Reporting and Viewing Systems
  • Creation of a linkable P-20W interagency warehouse containing data from P-12, post-secondary, and workforce sources
  • Creation of analytic portals for educational research and evaluation[1]

The 2015 SLDS Grant awarded Minnesota $7.0 million for the purpose increasing use of SLEDS and the state’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS) and adding new linkages within the systems to important data sources. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include:

  • Facilitate use of SLDS by providing locally available technical support, improved data collection (e.g. dual credit) and a variety of innovative user tools, such as at-risk student reporting.
  • Establish mechanisms to improve stakeholder’s data literacy, including professional development materials, video tutorials, a web-based teacher portal and technical support.
  • Investigating and/or establishing linkages to important new data sources, such as healthcare licensure data from the Minnesota Department of Health. These linkages have the potential to expand information available to educators, policymakers and other stakeholders in Minnesota and other states, helping to inform and improve education programming and policies.

Additionally, in 2014, management of SLEDS transitioned from MDE to OHE and the data system now receives on-going state funding.

[1] Major outcome of SLEDS grant project provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=MN
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Research Accommodation

As the entity charged with advising SLEDS, the SLEDS Governance Committee approved a Data Access and Management Policy outlining the procedures and roles of interested parties in accessing the data contained within the SLEDS. The policy states that interested parties submit a data request form to a SLEDS Coordinator at either the MDE, OHE or DEED. This data request form requires the following information[1]:

  • Overview
    • Research contact information
    • Research project title
    • Abstract
    • Theoretical background, including references
    • Description of study
    • Research questions
    • Cohort
    • Data elements
      • Line number
      • Variable
      • Variable Label
      • Variable Codes
    • Methodology
      • Statement of sponsorship
      • Time frame for completion
      • Statement of compliance with SLEDS data security policy
      • References

After a data request form has been submitted, the SLEDS Research and Data Committee will evaluate the request and inform the SLEDS Governance Committee of the request if the recommend approving access. The policy notifies interested parties that approvals for data requests may take within four to six months after the request has been submitted. This lengthy approval period is necessary to give all members of the SLEDS Research and Data Committee and SLEDS Governance Committee sufficient time to analyze and evaluate the request. SLEDS data requests are reviewed three times per year in the fall, winter and spring and must be received prior to the deadline date for each season. The deadlines are subject to change in year but the current deadlines can be found in the SLEDS public portal.

If the data request is approved by the SLEDS Governance Committee, a SLEDS Coordinator will send the interested party a letter of approval and a notice of the estimated costs, if any, expected to complete the data request. They also will provide a data sharing agreement for the interested party to sign and upon receipt of the signed data sharing agreement, will request SLEDS IT staff to create the requested data files. After this process has taken place, the SLEDS IT staff will begin working on the data request and notify the interested party when the data load is complete. The SLEDS Coordinator will not transfer requested data file until all documentation is complete.

Interested parties are required to submit any reports, findings, or research products to the SLEDS Coordinators at least thirty days prior to publication. SLEDS Coordinators will review these products to ensure appropriate stakeholders are aware of forthcoming publications. If the interested party needs additional time for research and data analysis or would like to request additional data for their research, they must abide by the data sharing agreement and contact a SLEDS Coordinator. If these additional services are not required, the interested party is required to destroy the data filed by the date specified in the data sharing agreement and submit a letter confirming the destruction of that data to the SLEDS Coordinators.

[1] Information pertaining to SLEDS data request process found at SLEDS public portal file:///C:/Users/pls0514/Downloads/New%20MN%20SLEDS%20Data%20Access%20Request%20Application%20(1).pdf
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Public User Portal

The SLEDS’s public user portal is jointly operated by MDE, OHE and DEED for the purpose of providing useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within the state of Minnesota. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents, students and other parties interested in education outcomes within the state of Minnesota. The quality of the SLEDS public 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.

  • User-friendliness:
    • The SLEDS is straight forward to use, the home page of the portal explains the purpose of the SLEDS and the public portal clearly and effectively. The home page provides instructions about what type of information can be found within the portal and offers a directory side bar that lays out the available material within the portal efficiently and effectively. The contact list for the SLEDS Coordinators is also listed on the home page of the portal, providing an outlet to users in need of assistance or guidance.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The SLEDS offers information pertaining to several different education categories, the major two categories being High School Graduates and College Students. The High School Graduate Category provides analytic information on the following topics: High School Academics, Enrollment, Completing College, and Developmental Education. The College Students Category provides analytic information on the following topics: New Student Demographics, New Student Enrollment, College Graduates and Employment. Each of these topics provides additional information on related subtopics.
  • Self-sufficiency of the SLEDS portal:
    • The SLEDS portal provides direct access to each of the education categories, topics and sub topics listed on the directory side bar. In addition to this information, the portal lists a number of quick links to related sites such as the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program, the U.S. Department of Education SLDS Featured Resources, the Workforce Data Quality Initiative and the Data Quality Campaign.
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created using the SLEDS portal:
    • The SLEDS portal allows interested parties to create customizable reports about the topics and subtopics listed on the directory side bar. These reports allow the user to change several input variables to specify the type of information they would like to access. The user can specify to view statewide outcomes or individual district outcomes, the graduate cohort being examined, the race or ethnicity of the population being observed, the gender of the population being observed, and several other criteria such as whether or not the population consists of English learners, special education recipients, and free or reduced price lunch recipients. Once these inputs have been specified, the SLEDS will generate an aggregate level report providing the required information.
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In 2013, the Minnesota legislature revised statute 127A.70 which had previously established the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership. The statute designates the purpose of the partnership, the various state agencies that must provide members to serve in the partnership, and the power and duties of the partnership. The statute was revised to include references to SLEDS and its purpose[1].

[1] This information was found in the 2015 Minnesota Statutes, 127A.70 https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes?id=127A.70&year=2015&keyword_type=all&keyword=longitudinal+data+system
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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.

Minnesota 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

Minnesota has currently met 7 of the 10 state actions:

  • Student-level enrollment data
  • Student-level test data
  • Information on untested students
  • Statewide teacher identifier with a teacher-student match
  • Student-level SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement exam data
  • Student-level graduation and dropout data
  • State data audit system

Data Quality Campaign score: 7/10

It should be noted that that Data Quality Campaign assessed each state’s progress towards completing the state actions in 2014. In 2016, Minnesota has completed all ten of the state actions that are identified in the Data Quality Campaign’s assessment. The three actions that have been fulfilled since the assessment took place were:

  • Link state K-12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems
  • Provide timely, role-based access to data
  • 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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Minnesota Office of Higher Education
Meredith Fergus
Manager of Financial Aid Research/ SLEDS Coordinator
Phone: (651) 259-3963
Email: meredith.fergus@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Rachel Vilsack
Agency Performance Manager/SLEDS Coordinator
Phone: (651) 259-7403
Email: rachel.vilsack@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Education
Kara Arzamendia
Data Analytics Supervisor/SLEDS Coordinator
Phone: (651) 582-8599
Email: kara.arzamendia@state.mn.us

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This schematic is offered to provide a simplified, visual presentation of the SLEDS and the channels through which data flows into and out of the SLDS. The entities on the far left side of the schematic represent the data record providers to the SLEDS. The entities in the middle of the schematic represent the SLEDS  and public user portal. The entities on the far right side of the schematic represent the parties intended to receive benefits from the outputs generated by the SLEDS.



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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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