The first phase of the MLDE Pilot conducted from 2010-2014 showed, first and foremost, that it is possible to create a voluntary multistate longitudinal data exchange across states and sectors within existing legal and regulatory frameworks while still protecting student privacy. The lessons can be summarized as follows:
The MLDE is feasible: it is possible to successfully exchange student-level data across sectors and states while protecting student confidentiality through legally compliant data sharing agreements.
The MLDE enhances states’ standalone data: by exchanging data across state lines, the four original states reduced significant gaps in their standalone data that exist from student and worker migration.
The MLDE supports policymakers: the MLDE allows state policymakers to 1) better understand the workforce outcomes of graduates from their state and 2) investigate how their state attracts workers who were educated elsewhere.
The MLDE can be improved: WICHE and participating states need to rethink the ways in which data are exchanged to improve the usability for policymakers and analysts. The forthcoming expansion of the MLDE will use a modified structure to better allow states to address key policy questions while improving system security.
MLDE will use a modified structure to better allow states to address key policy questions while improving system security.