Backed by a strong and unprecedented federal investment in education, the Obama administration has identified multiple objectives intended to help revamp the nation's education system--and a persistent use of student data to improve instruction is one of those objectives.

President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have emphasized the need for all states to implement longitudinal data systems to track the progress of students from kindergarten through college and the workforce. Those data systems also would link students to their respective teachers and help school leaders identify strengths and weaknesses within their districts.

A portion of the U.S. Department of...

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