Everyone, from students to governors, should have tailored access to information to drive student success, economic mobility, and systemic change.
- Individuals and the people who support them in navigating transitions, like students, their families, jobseekers, and counselors, need access to tailored, secure dashboards that enable them to draw insights and view aggregate and trend information side by side with individuals’ own data pulled in from local or other sources.
- Members of the public need user-friendly, dynamic dashboards, reports, and open data tools that display indicators they can disaggregate by population and geographic region.
- State-level policymakers in charge of cross-sector, statewide changemaking and system leaders, like community college, local workforce board, and district leaders, need functionality that enables them to investigate new policy questions and helps them direct the future of the state’s education and workforce investments.
The future of state data systems must start with people.
SLDSs must be designed to:
Grace wants to be the first person in her family to go to college. Lisa knows the type of career she wants. Both high school students need data to navigate their individual pathways.
Students like Grace and Lisa who are transitioning from high school into what comes next have questions: What programs meet my needs? Where can I meet my goals without unnecessary debt? Should I go to a four-year college or does an apprenticeship better fit my needs? What outcomes can I expect from different options? When state data systems enable access, individuals will be able to use data to make informed decisions about their pathways into college and career.
Joey is in community college and wants to transfer to a four-year university, and he has unique circumstances he needs to navigate.
Students like Joey who are already in college need a variety of supports to help them through their postsecondary education. Whether it’s transferring credits from a community college to a different university, discovering flexible employment options while in school, or understanding financial aid eligibility, data can inform students of the best ways to navigate their unique education journeys.
Raj went straight into the workforce after high school. Now that he has a family, he has questions about how he can advance his career prospects and earning potential.
Job seekers like Raj who have been a part of the workforce for some time may want to further their career and earning potential through career planning. With access to information about available training programs, wage data, employer data, and open roles in their area, job seekers can understand the opportunities available to them and how they can expand their skillsets to achieve better outcomes.
Corinne’s nonprofit needs to marshal every resource it can to support students from low-income families to complete college. Luis wants to help state leaders invest in career-readiness programs and employment supports that work for students of all backgrounds. Both are researchers who need data to make their work possible.
Right now, researchers like Corinne and Luis must navigate clunky processes to get the information they need, if they can get it at all. As a result, communities don’t have information about what works and policymakers lack information on where to allocate resources to programs that work. With robust data access, researchers can be more effective in conducting analyses and helping communities and policymakers answer questions about what works.
1. Codify cross-agency data governance in state law.
2. Establish an independent entity to administer the state’s SLDS.
3. Map existing assets to identify system strengths and limits.
4. Engage the public to prioritize data access needs and seek continual feedback.
5. Fund SLDSs and the source systems that contribute data to them.
6. Develop legal and privacy frameworks to enable and guide state data efforts.
7. Develop and act on rollout plans when building data access.
8. Invest in the talent and human capacity needed to modernize SLDSs toward access.
9. Center privacy.
10. Support local leaders in building their own capacity to use data.
1. Clarify and increase the funding available for SLDS modernization and capacity building.
2. Expand privacy technical assistance and support
3. Provide guidance on and support for linking and accessing data.
4. Scale best practices and address barriers.
Resources to Help You Understand the Need for Data Access
These resources provide additional information on how access to data enables decisionmaking.
Best Practices to Ensure Access to Data
Education Data 101
Data is one of the most powerful tools to inform, engage, and create opportunities for individuals along their journey through education and into the workforce—and it‘s much more than test scores.
We advocate to change the role of data to ensure that data works for everyone navigating their education and workforce journeys.