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Data Quality Event to Probe States' Longitudinal Systems

State longitudinal data systems are finally starting to come of age, thanks in part to intense federal investment in the past few years. The systems are intended to allow educators and researchers to track a student's academic career from kindergarten through college, and in some cases beyond.

For researchers and educators who want to learn more about how to dig into these data sets while avoiding student privacy pitfalls, the Data Quality Campaign plans to hold a free online seminar at the end of the month, "Leveraging the Power of SLDS: Building Capacity to Turn Data into Useful Information."

The Webinar, to be held June 29 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST, will include a discussion with Neal Gibson, the data system project manager for the Arkansas education department, and Kathleen Barfield, the chief administrative in information officer for the San Antonio, Texas-based Edvance Research, Inc.

Arkansas and the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest, which is housed at Edvance, partnered this spring to create the Arkansas Consortium on School Research. The group's "community of practice" trains superintendents, principals and teacher-coaches to use data to come up with new tools to improve students' college and career readiness. For example, the partnership has been training school leaders on how to use "on-track" indicators to identify the students at risk of dropping out of school and develop tailored programs to help them.

Rebecca Shah, a senior associate at the Data Quality Campaign, and Nancy Smith, a consultant for DataSmith Solutions, a Vienna, Va. company that helps school districts work with data, will also join the discussion.

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