Constrained state and district resources have been, and continue to be, a challenge as schools strive to ensure that data follow students across state lines, Fey said, adding that the foundation has seen an “incredible wave of enthusiasm and progress” toward that goal, however.

The Georgia Department of Education struggled with identifying out-of-state and migrant students when they showed up in Georgia classrooms, said Bob Swiggum, the district’s chief information officer.

Many bemoaned the lack of a central system, but progress remained slow. “People are just naturally risk-averse; it’s just easier not to do anything that to do something,” he said.

Using a federal State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) grant, the state built a system that would import a new student’s records the same day that the student showed up in a new classroom. Teachers log into the state system through their local district.

This system worked with students who already resided in Georgia, but Swiggum said the state still struggled with students entering the school system from out of state. As part of that LDS grant, Georgia officials conferred with education officials from surrounding states and created the Southeast Data Exchange.

The system, which is still being developed, features a central data exchange platform that any state can use for free, and is based on 15 matching elements that will return search results when educators search for student records.

Additional details can be found in “Meeting Policymakers’ Education Responsibilities Requires Cross-State Data Collaboration, Sharing, and Comparability” and “Limited Out-of-State Data Needed to Produce Robust Indicators.”