Wisconsin SLDS 2006 Grant
Title Longitudinal Data Systems to Support Data-Driven Decision-Making
Timeframe & Funding
This project was completed and funded by a $3.1M, three year grant from the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences between February 2006 and June 2009.
The Wisconsin LDS was built in-house from the ground up using state-of-the-art technologies and a data warehousing lifecycle strategy that emphasized the importance of high quality data. A key result of the LDS grant was the successful implementation of a student-centric data warehouse. Today this data warehouse has over 11 million rows of cleansed, consistent, student-level data including a unique student master record with key characteristics such as demographic information, disability determination, and income status. Other data available to be used for research and reporting includes enrollment data, the annual Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) data, the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment Exam (WAA) for students with disability data, English Language Learner - Access ELL results, Advanced Placement exam results, ACT test results and incidents of discipline. All data sets relate to the student and all students are related to a school and district. This enables new and powerful views of the data. For example, the Multidimensional Analytic Tool (MDAT) being rolled out in the fall of 2009 will enable an LEA to cross check WKCE results by attendance and/or incidents of discipline. This data set is now the primary data source for the Wisconsin Information Network for Successful Schools (WINSS) public reporting, EdFacts federal reporting, other compliance verification reports, and research being conducted by the University of Wisconsin. This “single version of the truth” has become an invaluable resource as we work in Wisconsin to incorporate the use of data in the business of education.
Early in the grant Wisconsin emphasized the use of this LDS data and associated technology to satisfy federal reporting requirements. For the 2004-2005 reporting period the Wisconsin outsourced much of the EdFacts reporting to a 3rd party and was able to complete only 28 submissions, approximately 50% of the required reports. By the 2006-2007 reporting period the number of submissions was up to 142 and for the 2007-2008 reporting period the DPI was able to provided 160 files, a 571% increase over three years. This increase in efficiency and effectiveness is largely attributable to the work and results of this LDS grant.
As a result of the successful implementation of the technology, data, systems and working relationships put in place by this grant, Wisconsin plans to participate in the Race To The Top discussion and grant process. Without the foundation created or put in place by our first LDS grant this discussion would be unthinkable. In addition, DPI leadership now has a much better understanding of the capabilities and complexities of building a decision support system and how we might approach PK20 in Wisconsin. This understanding led to the formation of teams to enable governance within the LDS project. These teams include an executive steering committee, an implementation committee, and a development team. The teams will all work together to ensure the successful implementation of additional projects to add beneficial data and reporting to the LDS.
A number of challenges were encountered and addressed as this project progressed. One challenge encountered by Wisconsin early on presented itself when we were trying to determine the project scope and how project resources should be directed. A second challenge was noted when we determined that there were gaps in student data collected within Wisconsin. One example of a data gap is student course work which will be one area Wisconsin will work to improve upon with the second LDS grant. The complexities of FERPA and State of Wisconsin laws also presented a challenge by making it difficult to determine exactly what can be done to share data and create flexible access to these datasets for LEA. The need to secure access to student level data by LEA was understood, however the need to record this access was a late discovery. Since it is still unclear how and when k12 data can be shared within the constructs of a PK20 system to the benefit of higher education, we acknowledge this barrier within the second LDS grant as well.
The DPI feels that the LDS grant project funded by NCES has been successful and this project can serve as an example of how future collaborative projects between USED, SEAs and LEAs can be designed and executed. The DPI appreciates the help and direction we received from NCES staff and management.
Click Wisconsin LDS Grant I Application to view the full grant application submitted.
Click Wisconsin LDS Grant I Final Summary to view the final report submitted for the grant.