States to link pre-k and post-secondary data to education systems

Washington State and Colorado both announced Recovery Act grant awards that will institute longitudinal education data systems designed to provide records of student performance from kindergarten through adult employment. Washington was awarded a $17.3 million grant for their system which will provide funding for the system over the next three years.

Washington’s new system will combine the state’s K-12 system with data from pre-kindergarten programs, as well as post-secondary and workforce information, creating a P-20 system.  Currently, K-12 data is managed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The new system will build on the work already done by OSPI, as well as the Education Research and Data Center, to focus on five areas of their education data collection: data governance, research and reporting, creation of a data warehouse environment, interoperability and strengthening the overall system.

“We know that transitions in school – from preschool to kindergarten, and from high school to college – present challenges to students,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “Having a data system to look at the progress of a student from pre-kindergarten through college is something that will help us better understand their needs. This grant will be an important part of our efforts to implement education reform and improve the quality of education for our children.”

Colorado was awarded a $17.4 million grant for their P-20 data project. The grant will build on the state’s P-20 agenda recommended by Governor Ritter’s P-20 Education Council and legislation passed last year which authorizes the inter-departmental data sharing needed to complete the project. The new system will be called Project SchoolView, and will capture data from a variety of state agencies to inform policy, parents, students, educators and researchers.

“This Recovery Act grant provides a critical component of Colorado’s education reforms that we have been spearheading over the last few years through a strong collaboration with stakeholders in the Colorado education community,” Gov. Ritter said. “By establishing a statewide data system of this scale, we will be able to track student progress in a way that has never been done before and then use this data to create a world-class education system that prepares our students for success in the global workforce.”

The grants in both states are some of the largest of the $250 million awarded this year through a grant competition between all 50 states – 20 states were awarded grants of various sizes through the competition.

The Recovery Act, signed into law in February by President Obama, is expected to bring Colorado at least $7.1 billion through more than 140 different programs, including tax cuts for most working families, increased safety net services and investment in infrastructure projects and growth industries.

The grant process was administered by the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands applied.

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