Data Should Support Individual Pathways
People’s pathways through education to careers are varied and often don’t follow a straight line. Individuals reach several decision points in their lives where they need the information to better understand their options and make decisions for their futures. When they are equipped with data, packaged in a way that is actionable and easy to understand, individuals can make informed decisions and chart their own paths.
Decisionmakers and practitioners play a pivotal role in an individual’s education and career path, including shaping educational opportunities and providing targeted support. Leaders need data that helps them answer their most pressing questions about postsecondary and workforce outcomes, and provide more targeted support to learners. State policymakers must make investments in their statewide longitudinal data systems—systems that connect data from early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce—that will improve their ability to answer the state’s most pressing questions, as well as push the state forward on their education and workforce goals.
States Need to Invest in Data Systems
State leaders should focus on the following areas to ensure their statewide longitudinal data systems include secure, quality linkages across education and workforce:
Governance is the best way to align data priorities across agencies by clearly defining roles and responsibilities through a structured decisionmaking body.
Quality, linked data in the hands of people—including policymakers, educators, and families—helps inform individuals along their education and workforce pathways and answer their pressing questions. Linking data across education and workforce allows decisionmakers to better understand state trends, practitioners to better prepare their students for success, and individuals to have a better awareness of the opportunities in front of them.
Ensuring meaningful data access is necessary for decisionmakers, practitioners, and individuals to make informed decisions. State leaders must invest in meaningful tools that help people make informed decisions. Leaders at all levels—including local and regional decisionmakers, as well as individuals—especially need this data presented in a way that is timely and tailored to answer their questions.
State Leaders Taking Action
Here are a few examples of how states are making their P–20W systems work for people.
Kentucky’s Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) has produced numerous tools and reports using insights from their P–20W system to inform decisionmakers, including local K–12 leaders. Specifically, their High School Feedback reports provide an example of how states can use linked data to support local decision-making. These reports highlight important information about students’ outcomes, including postsecondary enrollment and completion, remediation rates, and average GPAs.
The Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board uses linked education and workforce industry and wage data to create Career Bridge, a tool that high school and adult learners can use to better understand potential educational opportunities and career outcomes.
More on Education and Workforce Data Linkages
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.