A unique statewide student identifier that connects student data across key databases across years (a single nonduplicated number assigned to an individual student that remains with that student from kindergarten through high school).
The unique identifier provides a way to link information about individual students across data systems to get a complete picture as students move through their education careers and across schools and school districts within the state.
A statewide student identifier can help policymakers and educators know the following, among other things:
- achievement levels in previous grades that indicate that a student is on track to succeed in subsequent grades
- attendance patterns, which may signal a need for intervention
- students' academic progress as they move to different school districts, saving teachers valuable time as they wait on student records
Student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information, such as attendance, special education, gifted and talented education, career and technical education, or free and reduced-priced lunch status.
Student-level information beyond test scores is essential to lay the foundation to build tools like early warning systems, inform pedagogy and interventions, and evaluate the effects of schools and programs.
With student-level enrollment, demographic, and program participation information, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- the extent to which free and reduced-price lunch enrollment drops off in high school and how that might affect measures of each high school's poverty rate
- how the percentage of minority students in gifted and talented programs compares with that of white students
- the rate at which English language learners are entering the state for the first time in high school and how are they doing on the state's high school exit exams
The ability to match individual students' test records from year to year in a statewide database of individual student performance and the ability to disaggregate the results by individual test item and objective.
The ability to match individual student test records provides good diagnostic information to teachers and is also foundational to calculating student growth. Using test information at an aggregate level, the state and external researchers can conduct research and program evaluation in order to determine what’s working for the state’s students
With the ability to match individual student performance records across years to follow student progress, policymakers and educators will know the following by grade and subject:
- percentage of last year's below-proficient students who met the state's proficiency standard this year
- whether or not proficient and advanced students are achieving at least a year's growth every year
- which learning objectives may require teachers to provide further instruction to students or educator professional development programs to better align their offerings with students’ needs
Information on untested students and the reasons they were not tested.
By matching information on untested students to other information, like attendance and program participation, it is possible to identify patterns associated with specific student subgroups and ensure that all students are held to high expectations.
With information on untested students, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- which students, by grade and subject, were not tested and why, to ensure that all students’ needs are addressed
- trends over time in the number and percentage of untested students from each student subgroup, such as English language learners, special education students, economically disadvantaged students, or migratory students
- whether or not particular schools and school districts have excessive absences on test day or unusual patterns of absences and exemptions across years
A teacher identifier system with the ability to match teachers to students by classroom and subject.
Collecting data about teachers and their students makes it possible to identify which students and courses are being taught by teachers with different levels and types of preparation or certification, and which forms of teacher training and certification have the greatest impact on students' academic growth in the classroom. This makes it possible to identify effective teachers, professional development, and teacher preparation programs, so the state can do more of what works and improve overall teacher effectiveness.
With a teacher identifier and the ability to connect teacher and student data, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- the teacher preparation programs that produce graduates whose students have the strongest academic growth
- how the experience levels of teachers in the district's high-poverty schools compare with those of teachers in the schools serving affluent students, and how these experience levels are related to the academic growth of the students in their classrooms
- the relationship between the performance of the school district's economically disadvantaged students on the state algebra exam and teacher preparation in that subject
Collect student-level transcript information, including information on courses completed and grades earned. This information includes student-level information from middle and high school that shows courses taken and grades earned.
Student-level transcript information ensures that states can understand the impact of college- and career-readiness policies that encourage all students—especially those who are English language learners, economically disadvantaged, migratory, special education, or minority students—to take rigorous courses and be better prepared for postsecondary and careers.
With student-level transcript information, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- number and percentage of students who are enrolling in and completing rigorous courses in high school, disaggregated by student subgroup
- middle schools that are doing the best job of preparing students for rigorous courses in high school
- whether or not students in more rigorous courses in high school have been more successful in college or in the workplace
Student-level college readiness test scores,such as scores on SAT, SAT II, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.
Rigorous exams like ACT, SAT, AP, and IB are important indicators of students' college readiness and provide states with a picture of how well their students are prepared for education after high school.
With student-level college readiness test scores, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- how participation rates and scores on SAT, ACT, AP, and IB exams change over time for students from different subgroups
- percentage of students who meet the proficiency standard on the state eighth-grade test who also take AP or IB courses in high school and pass the corresponding AP or IB exams
- percentage of students who met the proficiency standard on the state high school test who take the SAT and ACT exams and score at college readiness benchmark levels on those exams
Student-level graduation and dropout data.
The calculation of accurate graduation rates requires the ability to correctly account for students who leave public education and provides the clearest picture of whether students graduate, drop out, or move. For example, states must be able to distinguish between departing students who drop out from students who transfer to another school or school district.
With good graduation and dropout data and the ability to match records to other databases, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- when students leave the state's public education system
- the state’s four-year adjusted cohort high school graduation rate (calculated according to the 2005 National Governors Association compact)
- schools and school districts that are doing the best job reducing the dropout rate
- characteristics of high school dropouts and whether or not there are early warning signs that schools can look for in elementary and middle school
The ability to match student records between the P–12 and higher education systems.
As a result of federal requirements, including the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund program and ESEA waivers, states are required to publicly report data by high school on students’ success in college as high school feedback reports, which provide school and district leaders a clear picture of how their students perform after graduation. The ability to match student records across P–20 is critical to creating these valuable reports.
With the ability to match student records between P–12 and higher education systems, policymakers and educators know the following:
- percentage of each school district's high school graduates who enrolled in college
- percentage of last year's graduates from each high school or school district who needed remediation in college and how these percentages varied by student subgroup
- percentage of students who met the proficiency standard on the state high school assessment but needed remediation in the same subject in college
- how students' ability to stay in and complete college is related to their high school courses, grades, and test scores
A state data audit system that assesses data quality, validity, and reliability.
Without a well-designed and well-implemented state data audit system, the public cannot have confidence in the quality of the information coming out of the state's public education system.
With a robust data audit system in place, policymakers and educators will know the following:
- whether or not the disaggregated student information used to rate schools for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) or other measures, such as Annual Measurable Objectives, is valid
- school districts that do the best job of reporting valid and reliable dropout data
- Whether or not school districts are reporting their numbers of untested students and reasons for not testing the students
- amount and type of data quality problems identified by school districts and how those problems are being addressed