Existing data systems are not fully capable of measuring related educational and employment outcomes, especially for state policymakers and institutional leaders whose decisions are best informed by evidence specific to their settings—as opposed to nationally representative aggregate figures. Although Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) have begun to come online, their data coverage stops at state borders. Yet neither individuals nor economic activity are so constrained. If policymakers and practitioners are going to better target policies and interventions to meet state and national goals, they need a way to access more comprehensive information about educational and employment outcomes that accounts for individual mobility. The MLDE links together existing SLDSs to address the blind spot that state policymakers and institutional leaders suffer from in the absence of cross-state data sharing.
In the the initial phase of the pilot, the MLDE exchanged K-12, postsecondary, and workforce data across four states beginning with the 2005 cohort of high school graduates and first time postsecondary enrollees. The exchange of data between participating states provided a clearer picture of workforce and educational outcomes by accounting for individual mobility. Several reports and policy briefs report findings from this initial phase of the pilot.