States are investing heavily in education and workforce data systems, but such systems cannot reach their full potential because as individuals move across state lines the data systems lose them. This leads to uncertainty about educational and workforce outcomes.
The Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange (MLDE) is one of several data sharing initiatives that can fill significant gaps in what is known about education and employment outcomes. In doing so, students and their families, policymakers, and institutions will better understand what works and what doesn’t in everything from high school preparation to college completion to workforce development.
The MLDE has been successfully piloted in six states (Hawai‘i, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington) and is designed to:
The Multistate Longitudinal Data Exchange—governed by its participating states—allows participating states to safely exchange educational and employment data across state lines to develop a fuller picture of how well their educational and employment systems are performing.
To help state officials understand how the exchange works, specific steps have been developed for their use when seeking to obtain information. It is is important to note that safeguards are in place to assure privacy of information.
Use the 4-Step diagram below to see how the exchange works. Let’s say, for example, that officials in the state of Washington wanted to know whether students who started college in their state are transferring—or graduating and then finding employment—in border states like Oregon and Idaho. Click through each step below to see how the officials in Washington would obtain the information they are seeking.
Washington officials who work with the MLDE would submit a request for educational and/or employment data to the Exchange for a targeted group of individuals to determine if they have left the state to pursue additional education or employment.
Because each state has already submitted lists of students to the Exchange, the Exchange has a directory that matches any individuals showing up in Washington to either or both of the other states. The Exchange would then request the educational and/or employment data on those matched individuals from Oregon and Idaho.
The Exchange shares the list of matched individuals and the data elements requested with Washington. To ensure privacy, the data being shared are encrypted at every step of the process so that personal information can’t be identified, and individual data
are never shared publicly.
Through this matching process, Washington can determine the number of individuals moving to neighboring states and for what reasons— educational or employment (or both)—and what implications these trends suggest for their state’s education and employment policies and practices.