Data System Overview

What is a Longitudinal Data System (LDS)?
The value of longitudinal data is widely recognized, and the federal government, in particular, encourages the analysis of student-level information, over time. The U.S. Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences (IES) sponsors the State Longitudinal Data System Grant Program. Funding from that program allowed for the initial development of our LDS (with a grant for 2005-2009), and continues to support the development of additional LDS applications and data capacities (with our current grant, received in mid-2009). With new initiatives and momentum, DPI also (December 2009) applied for and received a third federal grant to enable Wisconsin to advance and enrich our current LDS work.

Overall the Wisconsin Longitudinal Data System (LDS) Project is intended to create tools to facilitate data-driven decision-making for school and district improvement, and to assist educators looking to raise individual student achievement and close achievement gaps.

Current key components of Wisconsin's LDS:

  • A comprehensive data warehouse storing and linking student and school data over time from a variety of sources
  • A security application (Application Security Manager) that ensures only authorized personnel view confidential data
  • Secured reporting tools such as MDAT, the Multi-Dimensional Analytic Tool, and SAFE, the Secure Access File Exchange, that allow authorized users to analyze and provide access to key data, including individual student records
  • Public reporting on WINSS, WISEmaps, and in our School Performance Reports
  • Professional Development

Student-level data are linked from a variety of DPI data collections to create a rich picture of student performance. Reporting tools such as MDAT and WISEdash take advantage of this longitudinal view of student performance.

What's Unique About an LDS?

  • Brings data together at the student-level for granular analysis at multiple levels (cohort, school, district, state), over multiple years
  • Includes data collections beyond test scores, creating a richer picture of student performance
  • Includes reporting and analysis tools that take advantage of longitudinal data

Development of our longitudinal data system is an ongoing project involving many components.
Continued development of our Longitudinal Data System (LDS) enables DPI to satisfy key aspects of our state’s educational priorities: closing the achievement gap, building 21st century skills and moving toward a PK-16 data system in which all stakeholders can make informed decisions based on sound data. Overall development initiatives include:

  • Adding new datasets to the LDS, including Career and Technical Education, Course Completion, and Postsecondary enrollment data
  • Building new reporting tools for public and/or secured reporting
  • Building new reports (such as Growth Reports) to support research, public reporting and secured reporting
  • Enhancing current tools

Wisconsin LDS Vision
Provide a cost-effective, integrated educational analysis and reporting system to support

  • Teachers and school administrators making informed decisions to improve student achievement
  • Parents and community members learning more about their schools
  • Accurate and timely data reporting to meet Federal, State, and local requirements
  • Diagnostic and policy-relevant research
  • Data-informed decision-making at the state, district, school, classroom, and student level

Please click LDS Overview  for a summary presentation on the Wisconsin LDS.