North Dakota is developing a statewide data project to track student progress in school and provide information about whether young people are learning skills that the job market demands, BusinessWeek reports. The federal government has pushed states to implement their own “longitudinal data systems” to provide information about each student’s progress from kindergarten until they finish high school. The systems also could be used to track students’ college work. North Dakota has already met many of the initiative’s goals, according to the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit group that monitors how information is used to track student achievement. Steve Snow, the management systems information director for North Dakota’s Department of Public Instruction, and Lisa Feldner, director of the state Information Technology Department, said schools will use the information to spot instances where student achievement might be lagging, or where instruction could be improved. “They can take a look and see how many students are progressing into higher education … and say, ‘Did we prepare them appropriately?'” Feldner said. “They can look at dropout rates and ask, ‘Why are students dropping out?’ They can look at remedial rates and ask, ‘Why did (students) require remediation?'” The Department of Public Instruction obtained a $6.9 million federal grant to finish implementing the program, Feldner told a legislative committee that is monitoring the project, and he hopes the project will be mostly completed in three years…

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