There is considerable energy and momentum nationwide moving toward longitudinal systems that track individual students. Such systems hold the promise of providing expanded analytical power enabling answers to questions concerning student progression and performance.
This project is particularly aimed at building data systems that span K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce data. It also seeks to engage multiple states in developing a prototype framework that could be used to establish and govern a multi-state exchange of data. Only by linking individual-level data in such ways can critical policy questions be adequately answered. Existing systems are especially lacking in being able to track workforce participation across state lines and in understanding issues of equity in educational and labor force participation.
The project has two principal activities. First, a meeting held in Boulder, CO in December 2008 gathered together representatives from the K-12 education, postsecondary education, and workforce agencies in 14 of WICHE’s member states. Second, WICHE is leading an effort to develop a prototype framework for how states can work together to exchange data along all levels to equip themselves with far better information about the flow of human capital. WICHE has also provided technical assistance to South Dakota and Alaska as part of this project.
WICHE’s efforts throughout this project have been bolstered by close collaboration with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC).