Several representatives from the federal, state and local governments convened this week to discuss the importance of linking K-12 and postsecondary data to support college and career readiness.
The Data Quality Campaign (DQC), a national effort to improve access and use of high-quality data in education, partnered with the College Summit, a non-profit organization, to facilitate the event. Despite enormous progress made by states in the last few years, the panelists agreed that high schools need more information on what happens to graduates in order to complete the feedback loop including whether students attend further education, take remedial courses, or earn a degree.
U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter (CA) strongly supports efforts to connect data to improve educational outcomes. He stated that “If there is no stick for the federal government to use, and I don’t think there should be, then how do you make sure the job is getting done? The answer is data.”
State Senator Rich Crandall (AZ) echoed Hunter’s support, and stated that data needs to be more accessible and user-friendly for teachers and parents. Crandall said that parents rarely demand the data that they should be demanding, and spoke of the need for more parental use of school data to make changes in education at the local level.
The increased connection of data between K-12 and postsecondary education would benefit both types of institutions. Feedback provided to high schools on student performance in higher education would show areas of weaker performance for students. With this information, the high school can reexamine its curriculum and make changes to benefit current and future students. From the postsecondary perspective, improvements to curriculum or instruction at the high school level could decrease the number of students requiring remedial coursework upon entering college.
As DQC staff noted, states have shown significant progress in their capacity for this type of work over the last 5 years. In 2005, only 12 states reported that they have the capacity to link K-12 and postsecondary data systems. By 2010, 44 states were able to link the two systems.
Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst