The following profile is a representation of the South Carolina 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|
|Download State Profile|
The South Carolina Education Data System (SCLDS) is South Carolina public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS) managed by the South Carolina Department of Education, the state education agency responsible for development and implementation of the system. The SCEDS, created for the purpose of collecting and analyzing South Carolina’s public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, aggregates data records from the breadth of the South Carolina 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.
South Carolina 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.
 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
This review assesses the overall quality of the SCEDS 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) ranking. This report considers each of these criteria pertaining to SCEDS and provides contact information to the departments and individuals who maintain and manage the SLDS.
 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/
Governance and Maintenance
The SCEDS is overseen by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) , the state education agency responsible for the development and implementation of the system. According to SCDE’s 2009 SLDS grant application for federal funding to develop its SLDS, a plan exists to create a Data Governance Committee composed of various state agencies and institutions that have interests and responsibilities improving the state’s education system. As of 2017, this governance committee has not yet been formally created. Once created, the governance committee will be responsible for establishing policies, regulations, and data-sharing agreements regarding the acquisition, storage, security, and access of data related to P-12, higher education, workforce, and early learning state programs. As of 2017, a Data Request Review Board exists within the SCDE to ensure that the SCDE legally, efficiently, and purposively manages data requests while protecting identifiable student information. The SCDE created the SCEDS for the purpose of reducing the data burden experienced by local education agencies and encouraging better decision making practices for education agencies and institutions. The SCEDS provides the SCDE with a cost effective method of accessing and transferring accurate and timely education information among local education agencies and the SCDE.
The Office of Technology Services (OTS) within the Division of Policy, Research, and Technology of the SCDE manages the SCEDS database and the SUNS. The Deputy Superintendent of this division is the designated authority to establish and maintain a system of data protection for the data systems in accordance with FERPA and other relevant state and federal laws and regulations.
 Information obtained from the South Carolina 2009 ARRA SLDS Grant Application https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/SouthCarolina2009-ARRA.pdf
 Information obtained from the South Carolina Department of Education https://ed.sc.gov/data/data-security-privacy/data-requests/
 Information obtained from the South Carolina Department of Education Data Access and Management Policy https://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/DataAccessPolicy.pdf
 See footnote 7
As of 2017, the SCEDS only receives data records from local education agencies within South Carolina’s K-12 education system. This includes the 89 local school districts served by the SCDE. The SCDE has plans to expand the SCEDS to incorporate individual student level data records from South Carolina higher education institutions but these plans have not come to fruition yet. There does not seem to be data interoperability between K-12, higher education, workforce, and early learning data systems.
The SCEDS operates as a K-12 longitudinal data system with individual level student data records from the local education agencies serving the South Carolina K-12 education system. The SCEDS is separated into two distinct systems, the SCEDS database and the Student Unique Numbering System (SUNS). The SCEDS database acts as a data warehouse for all individual level student data records contained within the SCEDS. This is the data used to provide reporting and analysis capabilities for state and federal requirements. All data in the SCEDS database is de-identified of all personally identifiable information and assigned a unique identifier variable. This unique identifier is assigned by the SUNS. The SUNS only contains data needed to locate the unique identifier of a student who is currently or previously enrolled in a South Carolina K-12 school. 
 See footnote 7
 See footnote 5
 See footnote 7
 See footnote 7
SCDE 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 2006 and 2009 and was awarded two grants, the 2006 SLDS Grant and the 2009 ARRA SLDS Grant for the purpose of developing the SCEDS. The 2006 SLDS Grant awarded South Carolina $5,795,603 for the purpose of developing the foundational components of the SCEDS. 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:
- Building and implementing a vertical reporting system based on statewide SIF implementation
- Extend SIF to transfer student data horizontally between South Carolina’s public school districts, between state-level systems, and to other states and higher education
- Design and develop an enterprise-wide data architecture to include a data dictionary and a data model
- Expand the state level data repository to include EDEN data elements and expedite federal reporting
- Implement a user friendly reporting framework that provides researchers and stakeholders with access to the state level data repository
The 2009 ARRA SLDS Grant awarded South Carolina $14,890,261 for the purpose of further developing and enhancing the foundation and supplementary data systems that support the SCEDS. This funding will be 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:
- Establish data governance structures to include P-12, higher education, workforce agencies, health and human services, and other child care agencies in South Carolina
- Facilitate and create P-20 data exchanges among education agencies and institutions within the state and among other states so that data may inform policy and practice
- Expand the existing SLDS educational data warehouse to include new data sources and new interfaces
- Integrate educator data into the SLDS to facilitate assessment of educator performance and to inform teachers of their impact on student performance
- Implement further data quality controls within the statewide student information system so that data are complete, correct, and meaningful
 Information provided by the 2009 SLDS Grant Application https://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/pdf/Mississippi2009.pdf
 Information provided by the 2009 ARRA SLDS Grant Application
Outside researchers who desire to analyze individual student level data records pertaining to South Carolina students must submit a data request to the SCDE. The request will be reviewed by the SCDE Data Request Review Board for approval. If approved, the researcher will be required to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the SCDE before individual student level data records will be provided.
To submit a data request form, the SCDE requires researchers to set up member accounts at the SCDE Member Center. Once a researcher creates an account, the researcher must submit a request that contains the following information:
- Verification that information requested is not provided through publicly assessable SCDE website pages
- Researcher contact information
- Researcher affiliation
- Years of the data required
- Type of data required
- State/district level
- Form of data required
- Research question or purpose
- Explanation of how the South Carolina public and SCDE will benefit from the research
 Information provided by the South Carolina Department of Education https://ed.sc.gov/scdoe/assets/File/data/data-security-privacy/Data%20Request%20Instructions.pdf
 See footnote 15
Public User Portal
The SCEDS public portal, named the South Carolina Report Card (SC Report Card), is operated for the purpose of providing useful aggregate level data about various education issues to interested parties within South Carolina. These parties include administrators, educators, policy makers, parents, students and other parties interested in education outcomes within the state of South Carolina. The quality of these portals 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.
SC Report Card Evaluation:
- The SC Report Card is located within the data section of the SCDE website. The portal is fairly easy to navigate, but it does not provide robust explanations about the type of data provided in the portal, the means through which the data is collected, or how the data should be assessed.
- Extent of data offered:
- The portal offers reports on K-12 education outcomes for counties, districts, and schools in South Carolina. Users can view reports on the outcomes of each of these individual entities or compare the performance of education entities against each other. The reports provide student information regarding demographics, performance, graduation and dropout rates. The reports also provide educator information such as the percentage of educators with advanced degrees, average salaries, and percentage of teachers with continuing contracts. The reports also provide other information such as the number of dual credit courses offered at each school, the dollar spent per student ratio, and the student-teacher ratio at each education institution.
- Self-sufficiency of the portal:
- The SC Report Card provides direct access to each of the reports listed on SCDE website. However, the portal does not provide information to other education data sources in the state such as higher education, early learning, or workforce data reports.
- Extent of customizable reports that can be created through the portal
- The SC Report Card allows interested parties to customize the reports available through the portal through various specifications. Interested parties can also customize reports using other criteria such as school, district, and county specific outcomes for K-12 students. One of the most unique features of the portal is its ability to compare schools and districts to each other to evaluate performance of each education entity.
 Information for this section was provided through analysis of the SC Report Card portal https://ed.sc.gov/data/report-cards/state-report-cards/2017/
The South Carolina legislature passed SC. Code Ann. § 59-1-490 in 2013, which effectively established the purpose of the SCEDS as an SLDS to improve the quality of life, education and employment opportunities of South Carolina students.
 Statute information can be found by searching through the South Carolina State Code
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), 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, a set of elements and policy actions proposed to produce quality data systems and increase student achievement within in each state.
South Carolina 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
South Carolina has currently met 4 of the 10 state actions:
- State Action 4 – Build state data repositories
- 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
Data Quality Campaign score: 4/10
It should be noted that the Data Quality Campaign assessed each state’s progress towards completing the state actions in 2014. At this time, South Carolina had 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 2 – Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems
- State Action 3 – Develop governance structures for longitudinal data systems
- State Action 5 – Provide timely, role-based access to data
- State Action 6 – Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents
- State Action 10 – Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data
 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
 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
South Carolina Department of Education
David Mathis, Deputy Superintendent
Division of College and Career Readiness
Phone: (803) 734-2577