The following profile is a representation of the Missouri 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 MCDS Dashboard MCDS Website

NCES Funding:



The Missouri Comprehensive Data System (MCDS)[1] is Missouri’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] managed by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)[3]. The MCDS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing Missouri public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels,  aggregates data records from the breadth of the Missouri public education data collection systems, including the Missouri Student Information System (MOSIS)[4] and the Enhanced Missouri Student Achievement Study (EMSAS)[5].  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 student 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.

Missouri is one of 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 Missouri Comprehensive Data System is managed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the purpose of collecting and analyzing P-20 individual student level data
[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 Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is a state agency that seeks to guarantee the superior preparation and performance of Missouri students in school and life
[4] The Missouri Student Information System is a data collection system managed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing K-12 individual student level data
[5] The Enhanced Missouri Student Achievement Study is a data collection system managed by the Department of Higher Education, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing higher education individual student level data
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the MCDS 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 MCDS, after which an overall evaluation will be placed upon the MCDS.

[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 MCDS is maintained by DESE, which operates as both a manager of the MCDS as well as contributor of information to the MCDS. DESE operates the MOSIS data collection system, a system which gathers K-12 individual student level data. MOSIS is used as the foundational structure for the MCDS, the data collection system assigns a unique MOSIS identifier variable to each Missouri student when they begin their K-12 education. This unique identifier variable stays with each student throughout their attendance of education institutions, and is the key component needed to create a longitudinal data system. DESE created the MOSIS data collection system as a K-12 longitudinal data system to serve as the foundational structure of the MCDS, a P-20 longitudinal data system.

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Data Providers

The MCDS receives data records from several different sources, including DESE, the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE)[1], and the Missouri Department of Economic Development (MDED)[2]. DESE provides records through its MOSIS data collection system, a system that gathers K-12 individual student level data pertaining to students in the state of Missouri. MOSIS assigns a unique identifier variable to each student which stays with them throughout their K-12 education. MDHE provides records through its EMSAS data collection system, a system that gathers higher education individual student level data on students attending public higher education institutions in the state of Missouri. EMSAS obtains the full name of the students it receives data on and also requires student’s MOSIS identifier variable if that student attended an elementary or secondary education institution in Missouri. This is a necessary requirement for the interoperability between the MOSIS and EMSAS databases. MDED provides records on labor market and workforce outcomes, tracking individual unit level data using each Missouri resident’s social security number as a unique identifier variable.

According to DESE’s federal grant proposal to acquire necessary funds for the creation of the MCDS, each of these agencies provides data inputs to the MCDS. These data inputs are connected by matching the MOSIS identifier variable used by MOSIS and EMSAS with the social security number identifier variable used by MDED. This matching allows the MCDS to gather individual student level data on students throughout their education process as well as their labor market outcomes, creating a longitudinal data 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 Missouri. It is difficult to say what level of interoperability actually exists within the MCDS since the public is only allowed to access the MCDS online dashboard, a source that provides access to several interesting data records but does not give full access to the MCDS. The parties most interested with the data provided by the MCDS are DESE, MDHE, MDED and the University of Missouri (UM). These state agencies use this information to inform their education policy decisions, with the intent to improve Missouri’s education system and the quality of the work force within the state. The University of Missouri performs research and analytical reporting on the data provided by the MCDS, studying K-12 student preparation for higher education and various other questions concerning K-12 and higher education collaboration.

[1] The Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) strives to coordinate higher education policy that fosters a quality postsecondary system, as well as to increase participation in Missouri ‘s public institutions
[2] The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s mission is to create solid, high-paying jobs and to boost economic development across the state to help local communities grow and prosper
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DESE applied for federal grant funding in 2008 and was awarded $8,976,686 for the purpose of developing and creating a state longitudinal data system. This funding was used to pay for the various costs associated with the creation of a data system, including: equipment costs, contractual labor costs, travel costs and indirect costs. The outcomes produced by this funding include:

  • A training and support system for teachers and other users.
  • A data repository to consolidate longitudinal data and conversion of all aggregate collections to unit records.
  • A portal to manage collection, access, and reporting of data for use by teachers, districts, and State officials.
    • EdFacts reengineering to use unit records in MOSIS.
    • Research by UM to improve teacher preparation and professional development.
    • Interoperability across DESE, DHE, DED, and other State agencies.
    • Collaboration tools across all communities of interest for Missouri education.[1]

The federal funds awarded to DESE were used primarily to develop and expand the MOSIS data collection system, making MOSIS the foundational platform of the MCDS and having the capability to collect and match its data records with the data records from the MDHE and the MDED.

According to the Missouri Office of Administration (MOA)[2], DESE has not received any specific state funding for the MCDS from 2013-2016. It is unclear if DESE has received any specific state funding for the MCDS prior to 2013, due to the fact that they have no public budget summaries published prior to this date. The state does designate funds to the Division of Learning Services, the specific department within DESE that oversees management of the MCDS but there is no explicit reference within the department’s budgetary summaries of funding being used for the development of the MCDS. There is also no documentation of funding being provided for the MCDS by private institutions or organizations located within the state of Missouri.

[1] Major outcomes of MOSIS Longitudinal Data System grant project provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/state.asp?stateabbr=MO
[2] The Missouri Office of Administration analyzes budget policy issues and provides fiscal information to the elected officials of state of Missouri and local, state and federal agencies.
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Research Accommodation

As the operating manager of the MCDS, DESE has the responsibility of granting interested parties access to the data contained within the MCDS. DESE asks that interested parties submit a data request form to their Office of Data System Management. This data request form requires the following information:

  • Contact information
  • What particular data is being requested
  • The purpose for which this data will be used
  • The date the data is needed by
  • Any additional supporting information that can be offered

After a data request form has been submitted, DESE will evaluate the information provided and decide whether or not to grant the interested parties access to the requested data. If data access is granted, DESE will inform the interested party of the specific rules they must follow when using the data to ensure that no privacy policies are violated.

Currently, the only parties that have requested access to individual student level data within the MCDS are DESE, MDHE, MDED and UM. There is no record of outside research having been conducted on the MCDS since its creation. This does not mean that DESE restricts outside research parties from accessing the MCDS, it simply shows that there has been no outside research conducted using data from the MCDS to this current data.

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Public User Portal

The MCDS’s public user portal is operated by DESE for the purpose of providing useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within the state of Missouri. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents, students and other parties interested in education outcomes within the state of Missouri. The quality of the MCDS 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 MCDS portal is relatively straight forward to use, the home page of the portal explains the purpose of the portal and what information can be found within the site. The portal also provides instructional tutorials to users to enable them to know what information can be found on the site, where this information can be found, how this information can be accessed, and how reports can be created using this information.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The MCDS portal offers information under the fields: Accountability, College and Career, District and School Information, Early Childhood Education, Education Staff, Special Education, State Assessment, and Student Characteristics. Within each of these fields lies two subfields, Quick Facts or Guided Inquiry. Quick Facts allows interested parties to access aggregate level reports already created by DESE while Guided Inquiry allows interested parties to personally create aggregate level reports using several different variables.
  • Self-sufficiency of the MCDS portal:
    • The MCDS portal provides direct access to each of the information fields shown on its homepage as well as all information presented through Quick Facts or Guided Inquiry. In addition to this information, the portal lists a number of quick links to related sites such as the homepage of DESE, the homepage of the U.S. Department of Education, and several websites dedicated to Missouri education initiatives
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created using MCDS portal:
    • The MCDS portal allows interested parties to create customizable reports using the Guided Inquiry tool. This tool allows users to select the school or district they are interested in observing and produce aggregate level data reports on certain education variables, such as graduation rates, demographics, test scores, etc.
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In 2014, the Missouri legislature passed statute 161.096 in House Bill No. 1490 which established DESE’s mandate to maintain and optimize the MCDS. The statute states that the Missouri state board of education will promulgate a rule that mandates the necessary functionality and accountability measures the MCDS must adhere to[1].  In 2015, the rule, CSR 20-799.100, was officially created and put into policy action. The function of the rule is to explain the type of data that will be collected by the MCDS and the procedures that are used throughout the data collection process to ensure confidentiality of student records contained in the data system[2].

[1] Information found within Missouri House Bill No. 1490, 161.096 http://house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills141/biltxt/truly/HB1490T.htm
[2] Information found within Rules of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, CSR 20-799.100 http://s1.sos.mo.gov/CMSImages/AdRules/csr/current/5csr/5c20-700.pdf
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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.

Missouri 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

Missouri has currently met the following 7 of the 10 state actions:

  • Linking state K-12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems.
  • Developing governance structures to guide data collection and use.
  • Building state data repositories.
  • Creating progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents.
  • Creating reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change.
  • Developing a purposeful research agenda.
  • Promoting strategies to raise awareness of available data.

Missouri has failed to meet the following three proposed state actions:

  • Creating stable, sustained support for its longitudinal data systems.
    • The MCDS did not receive state funding in 2014.
  • Providing timely, role-based access to data.
    • Missouri has not created state policies to ensure that teachers and parents have access to their students’ longitudinal data.
  • Implementing policies and promoting practices to build educators’ capacity to use data.
    • Missouri teachers and principals are not trained to use and interpret specific data reports.
    • Teacher performance data are not shared with in-state educator preparation programs at least annually.

Data Quality Campaign Score: 7/10

[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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Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:
Data System Management
Phone: 573-522-3207
Email: dsm@dese.mo.gov

Jason Young
MCDS Coordinator
Phone: 573-751-7621
Email: jason.young@dese.mo.gove

Michelle Pruitt
Data Specialist, Core Data and MOSIS
Phone: 573-526-6287
Email: Michelle.Pruitt@dese.mo.gov

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This schematic is offered to provide a simplified, visual presentation of the MCDS 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 MCDS. The entities in the middle of the schematic represent the MCDS 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 MCDS.



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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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