Alaska SLDS History and Goals

In 2006, the State of Alaska’s Department of Education & Early Development (EED) received the state’s first IES grant to fund a K-12 statewide longitudinal data system, or SLDS.  In 2011 ACPE, acting on EED’s behalf, responded to the most recent IES SLDS RFA and was awarded a grant in the amount of $4 million in order to link de-identified data from the current K-12 SLDS with postsecondary and workforce data to create a P-20W SLDS.  Alaska’s grant application describes in detail Alaska’s current situation, goals for the project, expected budget, and associated timelines.   

The Alaska P-20W SLDS will initially link data from four partnering agencies – EED, ACPE, UA, and DOLWD.  Data sharing will be phased in during the first several years after deployment and the SLDS is expected to include K-12 student demographics, program participation, assessments, performance, financial aid, and interventions; postsecondary enrollment, remediation, degrees, certificates and related success; teacher preparation, demographics, certification, and employment data; and information about students’ future wages, their industry and occupation, employment location, among other data-related elements.  As currently planned, the system will be maintained by ACPE and function under a multi-agency governance structure.  

The primary overarching goals of this project are to:

  1. Create a secure, statewide longitudinal data system that allows data about K-12 students, teachers, college students, and industry to be linked together accurately and securely so they can be used to better understand and inform policy makers on the education to workforce cycle and on the personal and societal costs and benefits related to education outcomes;
  2. Create reports, dashboards, and other information products including limited, tightly controlled access to de-identified unit record data that provide relevant and accurate information to the right people in easily usable formats to better inform research and policy making; provide support to help the data users deploy the information to improve education and workforce outcomes in Alaska; and, increase transparency around educational outcomes, generally; and
  3. Develop a P-20W governance model with a team of leaders engaged in the practice of using data to inform decision making and who understand the value of this process for the state.  

In order to do this, the project is divided into six phases, each with its own subset of deliverables:

  1. Planning for system development; 
  2. Creating the SLDS hardware and software environment;
  3. Developing the longitudinal data system; 
  4. Creating reports and a portal to make information available;
  5. Providing extended training to help users access and utilize the data to better inform policy and practice to improve educational and workforce outcomes; and
  6. Creating and implementing a sustainability plan.

It may be equally important to define what the Alaska SLDS is not.  It is not:

  1. A system that will provide transactional data reporting, i.e., the SLDS is not designed to answer questions about a specific student, to trigger individual interventions for students, or to retain historical records that can be referred to in order to answer non-research based questions.
  2. A database that maintains information to evaluate individuals.
  3. A public database for accessing very specific information, such as information about a school, a teacher, or a course offering.
  4. A database for tracking every Alaskan, or for capturing information on all aspects of their educational or workforce/economic activities.

SLDS Project Timeline