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Sandy Blows Away Data System Conference

In light of Hurricane Sandy's slow drenching of the region, the Institute of Education Sciences has cancelled a planned conference in Washington this week to share best practices for statewide longitudinal data systems.

The U.S. Education Department has awarded five rounds of grants since 2005 to help 47 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands develop centralized data systems that can link preschool through higher education, and eventually workforce and other data. The Data Quality Campaign has found that nearly all states can now track students' academic progress from year to year, though there continue to be concerns about how to protect students' privacy and accurately connect students to their teachers and principals.

This week's conference was intended to, among other things, help states "move beyond dashboards and reports" to support the use of the data by researchers and policymakers. The meeting also planned to address the "challenges and implications" of different methods of calculating teacher effects on student achievement.

There's no word yet on whether and when the conference will be rescheduled, but researchers and policymakers who want more information on effective use of the data systems can check out the institute's archived webinars on specific topics.

Stay safe and dry out there, everyone.

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