New Analysis: All States Could Empower Education Stakeholders with Data but They Haven’t Yet

Elizabeth Laird,, 202-393-7192
Rachel Zaentz,, 202-667-0901

Washington, DC, December 1, 2011 – The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) seventh annual state analysis, Data for Action 2011, shows that although states have made strong progress increasing their capacity to build and use data systems, they aren’t yet helping educators, parents, and other education stakeholders use the data to inform decisions to improve student achievement.

“States have worked so diligently to build their capacity to collect and use quality education data, but we will see improved student achievement only when all stakeholders—from parents to policymakers—actually use these data to make informed decisions,” said Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign. “The need is urgent: state policymakers are right now in the process of allocating scarce resources based on what works to help students, and they cannot do that well without data.”

More states than ever—36, up from zero in 2005—have implemented all of DQC’s 10 Essential Elements of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, and 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have implemented eight or more. This means that, without exception, every state in the country has robust longitudinal data extending beyond test scores that could inform today’s toughest education decisions.

Yet no state has taken all of the 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use, which create a culture in which stakeholders use the rich data states now collect. For example:

  • Few states can inform conversations about preparing citizens for jobs because 41 states do not link K–12 and workforce data, and 38 states do not link postsecondary and workforce data.
  • 38 states have not established policies around sharing data across agencies, and 36 states have not identified their critical questions to guide cross-agency data efforts.
  • 42 states do not require data literacy for both program approval and teacher and principal certification.
  • 46 states do not share teacher performance data with teacher preparation programs.


However, some states are doing cutting-edge work, proving that these challenges can be addressed now:

  • Arkansas leads the nation with 9 of 10 State Actions and providing cutting-edge, real-time data access and reporting.
  • Texas connects K–12 and workforce data to provide feedback information to districts regarding the employment of their graduates and non-graduates after they leave the district.
  • Maryland ensures transparency and accountability while developing a system to answer the state’s critical policy questions through a P–20 governance body.
  • North Carolina shares teacher performance data with the state’s teacher preparation programs and uses its program approval authority to require data literacy training in pre-service programs.

For more information on the Data Quality Campaign, to read the full report, and to access individual state fact sheets, please visit our website at

Interviews with representatives from the Data Quality Campaign and state leaders can be arranged by contacting Rachel Zaentz at rachel.zaentz@widmeyer.comor 202.667.0901.

Related event: On January 18, 2012, DQC will host its National Data Summit to further explore how the growing state data capacity, as captured in Data for Action 2011, can inform state and national policy priorities to improve student achievement. Featured presenters will include US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. To register for this event or receive more information, visit the event registration site.


The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a national, collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement. The campaign provides tools and resources that will help states implement and use longitudinal data systems, while providing a national forum for reducing duplication of effort and promoting greater coordination and consensus among the organizations focused on improving data quality, access, and use.

Our work is made possible by philanthropic grants and contributions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, AT &T, and the Birth to Five Policy Alliance. Additional support has been provided by The Broad Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Casey Family Programs.

Connect with DQC @EdDataCampaign.