The following profile is a representation of the Vermont 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 Statutes
DQC Contact Schematic State Response
Download State Profile VADR Dashboard VADR Website NCES Funding:


The Vermont Automated Data Reporting system (VADR)[1] is Vermont’s public education state longitudinal data system (SLDS)[2] managed by the Vermont Agency of Education (VAOE)[3]. The VADR, created for the purpose of analyzing Vermont’s public education data at the individual, course, institution, and system levels, links data records from the breadth of the Vermont public education systems. The centralized data collection system is part of a nation-wide effort to record granular public education detail over time in order to document the entirety of the 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.

Vermont 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 Vermont Automated Data Reporting system is a centralized education data system for the state of Vermont
[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 Vermont Agency of Education cooperates with local school boards to increase student learning and academic achievement
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Evaluation Criteria

This review assesses the overall quality of the VADR 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 VADR 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 VADR is governed by VADR Project Committee, a committee that consists of representatives from the VAOE and representatives from Vermont’s Supervisory Unions and Schools (VSUS). The VADR Project Committee is the primary governing body of the VADR, charged with developing and implementing the data system. The committee’s specific roles are listed below:

  • Adopt bylaws and make changes to bylaws and the VADR Book of Data Governance
  • Develop and approve VADR policies and procedures
  • Provide oversight, vision, and leadership to the Data Steward Workgroup (DSW)
  • Serve as the Authority for escalation of issues and recommendations from the DSW

These members are expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Attend and participate in scheduled committee meetings; if a representative is unable to attend a meeting, it is their responsibility to designate an alternative representative
  • Report to the VOE and VSUS regarding data issues, new data regulations, and new policies affecting data
  • Communicate with their agency regarding activities and decisions of the committee
  • Support and advocate data management and governance practices to agency staff

The committee is authorized to form and disband sub-committees that address needs and issues regarding the VADR. It has formed the System Governance Sub-committee to address topics that have a direct impact on the process and structure of the VADR. The System Governance Sub-committee ensures the decision making processes and technology related work of the VADR are properly controlled. All decisions made by the System Governance Sub-committee must be reviewed and approved by the committee before becoming official.

The Data Stewards Workgroup (DSW) works under the committee and has the authority to implement and support data management and governance practices within their respective organizations. The mission of the DSW is to ensure the availability of data in the VADR is sufficient to answer critical questions pertaining to the state’s education system and workforce. The DSW members are designated by heads of each participating agency and the DGC.  These Data Stewards are expected to:

  • Drive VADR data initiatives internally within their individual organizations
  • Serve as the authority for implementation of policies and procedures set by the committee
  • Have the responsibility to determine the resources necessary from their respective agencies
  • Maintain a statewide perspective rather than an individual agency view

The Data Stewards also are expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Report to their respective representatives regarding data issues, new data regulations, and new policies affecting data as well as help propose resolutions
  • Communicate with their respective agencies regarding activities and decisions of the DGC and their potential impact upon their agencies’ systems
  • Communicate with the committee of any changes in their agencies’ systems and their potential impact upon the VADR
  • Provide data analysis related to their agencies’ contributing data
  • Regularly evaluate the quality of the data being provided for use by the VADR
  • Identify opportunities to share and re-use data in accordance with policies implemented by the committee
  • Provide the committee with recommendations on issues such as data security, system infrastructure, and metadata
  • Track federal and state legislation involving data elements and translate this impact for the VADR
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Data Providers

The VADR is a centralized data system that merges data from participating state agencies on an ad-hoc basis. These participating agencies provide the following data records:[1]

  • Vermont Agency of Education (VAOE) – K-12 data records
  • State Council of Higher Education for Vermont (SCHEV) – Higher-Ed data records

Data records are merged through a complex double-deidentifying hashing process that leaves private data behind the firewalls of the participating agencies. This process prevents the release of personally identifiable information such as student names, birth dates or state-testing identifiers. Identifiable data are replaced by randomly generated identifiers by each agency prior to being merged and matched by the VADR. During this merging, the agency-assigned identifiers are replaced by new VADR-generated random identifiers. The algorithms used to produce the VADR identifiers expire and are automatically destroyed after each inquiry, providing unique encryption for every VADR data merge.

[1] Information provided by the VADR online site
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The VAOE 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 2012. Vermont was awarded one grant, the 2012 SLDS Grant, for the purpose of developing and enhancing its state longitudinal data system. The 2012 SLDS Grant awarded Vermont $4,947,261 for the purpose of building the foundational components of VADR. This funding was used for the various costs associated with developing a data system, including: travel costs, equipment costs, supplies costs, contractual costs, and indirect costs. The proposed outcomes to be produced using this funding include: [1]

  • All Vermont K-12 schools participating in the VADR by May 2015
  • Develop state-level operational data store
  • All Vermont Agency of Education data analysis tool data loads automated by May 2015
  • Establish enhanced training delivery system
  • All EdFacts submission files capable of being automatically generated by May 2015
  • Develop growth model reporting tools
[1] Information obtained from the Vermont 2012 SLDS Grant Application
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Research Accommodation

Outside researchers interested in analyzing data contained in the VADR must work with a sponsoring agency to develop and refine research questions consistent with the respective agency’s research agenda. Once an outside researcher has gained preliminary approval for their project, they must submit a formal research request to the sponsoring agency. This request must provide a description of the project, identification and contact information of each researcher associated with the project, a non-disclosure agreement signed by each of these researchers, and the select data fields needed for the research. If data are requested from multiple agencies, each agency must approve and sign the data agreement. Once this approval process is complete, the researcher will be provided access to develop and execute their research query. After the research is conducted, the researcher must submit their findings to the sponsoring agency for review.

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Public User Portal

The VADR public user portal is maintained by the participating agencies that provide data records to the data system. The portal puts data about Vermont’s schools and labor force in a centralized location which is easy to access and use. It provides reports that have been created through use of the VADR.

The quality of this 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 made using the portal.

VADR Public User Portal Evaluation:

  • User-friendliness:
    • The portal is easily-accessible through the VAOE online site. The VADR home page provides a comprehensive overview about the data system and the partnerships between participating agencies. The portal is intuitive to use and easy to navigate. Users are provided a clear overview of the sections contained in the portal and are provided step by step instructions on how to use the tools in these sections.
  • Extent of data offered:
    • The portal provides reports about K-12, higher education and workforce outcomes for on each school district and county in the state of Vermont. However, aggregate level reports that can be customized by a user’s preference are not located in the portal. These customizable reports are listed in each of the participating agencies’ online sites. Publish research created through use of the VADR and its partners are listed on the portal as well.
  • Self-sufficiency of the portal:
    • The portal provides access to the reports that have been created through use of the data system. It also provides links to each of the participating agencies’ online sites that contain customizable information on specific groups of interest.
  • Extent of customizable reports that can be created through the portal:
    • The portal does not allow users to generate customizable reports about specific groups of interest. Instead, users must navigate to the participating agency’s online site to access customizable reports.
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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.

Vermont 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

Vermont 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 10 – Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data

Vermont has currently not met 6 of the 10 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 9 – Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data

Data Quality Campaign score: 4/10

[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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Vermont Agency of Education
Brian Townsend
VADR Project Director
Phone: 802-479-1099

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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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