As the few remaining states without state longitudinal data systems (SLDS) are undertaking serious efforts to build them, it is more important than ever for state agencies to cooperate in order to ensure the success of these systems. A new report from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign details how Kentucky and Virginia have built support for their SLDS amongst state agencies and provides recommendations for other states looking to do the same.
In order to function well, SLDS must have data from across the education and workforce spectrum. Getting this data will require building a strong relationship with the state agencies that hold it, including K-12, higher education, and workforce agencies. A well functioning SLDS allows states to conduct reporting, research policy questions of interest to policymakers, and provide information to learners about their educational options.
Both Kentucky and Virginia’s SLDS have successfully built and maintained relationships with the education and workforce agencies in their states, and can serve as a model for other states looking to do the same. Given these strong relationships, both states are able to use data to ensure that stakeholders have the information they need to make informed decisions about education and training programs.
Among the lessons gleaned from Kentucky and Virginia are:
- Communicate tailored information about benefits: SLDS leaders should learn to tailor their arguments about the value of a strong SLDS for different audiences. Arguments can include that the system will enable agencies to answer research questions of interest, or how use of the system can aid in meeting federal reporting requirements.
- Clearly explain privacy and security practices: Many state agencies are concerned about privacy and security breaches and feel responsible for protecting the data for which they are responsible. SLDS leaders can ease these concerns by providing detailed information about their privacy and security practices.
- Ensure participation in data governance: SLDS leaders can build long-term support for the system by enabling the leaders of participating agencies to have a sense of ownership over the SLDS. States may do this by creating a governance or advisory council with a representative from each participating agency.
View the complete case studies and recommendations here.