Those actions are:

1. Link state K–12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary education, workforce, social services, and other critical agencies.
2. Create stable, sustained support for robust state longitudinal data systems.
3. Develop governance structures to guide data collection, sharing, and use.
4. Build state data repositories (e.g., data warehouses) that integrate student, staff, financial and facility data.
5. Implement systems to provide all stakeholders with timely access to the information they need while protecting student privacy.
6. Create progress reports with individual student data that provide information educators, parents, and students can use to improve student performance.
7. Create reports that include longitudinal statistics on school systems and groups of students to guide school, district, and state-level improvement efforts.
8. Develop a purposeful research agenda and collaborate with universities, researchers, and intermediary groups to explore the data for useful information.
9. Implement policies and promote practices, including professional development and credentialing, to ensure that educators know how to access, analyze, and use data appropriately.
10. Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data and ensure that all key stakeholders, including state policy makers, know how to access, analyze, and use the information.

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. Thirty-eight states have not established policies around sharing data across agencies, 36 states have not identified their critical questions to guide cross-agency data efforts, and 42 states do not require data literacy for both program approval and teacher and principal certification. Forty-six 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 nine 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.

Guidera said this year’s report imparts three key takeaways: