Each year, the state’s assessment and accountability systems generate more and more data—results on multiple tests by subject and grade level, graduation rates, demographics, etc.—all disaggregated by student subgroups, tied to specific schools, and for multiple years.
This wealth of new data makes it possible for state leaders, educators, and researchers to more accurately answer many critical questions about the progress of students and the school conditions that support that progress. But to take full advantage of this, California must successfully develop new strategies, implement new systems and technologies, and develop new capabilities for compiling and analyzing those data.
The state is close to completing a major milestone in this effort, the creation of the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). This system is based on data for individual students and educators, an approach endorsed by the state more than a decade ago and required by the federal government in 2002. Its development has taken much longer than expected in large part because of fiscal and political constraints.
After several years of hard work and lots of perseverance, this long-anticipated student data system is now nearing completion. However, much work and many decisions remain as policymakers and educators move forward with its implementation and consider next steps toward making the state’s education data system more robust and comprehensive.
- Data based on individuals can yield more comprehensive and accurate information about school progress
- The work of the national Data Quality Campaign highlights potential goals for California and points out places where the state’s current plans for its data system may still fall short
- The long-awaited CALPADS system that collects data on individual students is set for implementation in 2009–10
- Work is starting on CALTIDES, a similar system to be built using data on individual Educators
- Current implementation plans leave out some K–12 data and do not include linkages to other state systems, such as higher education
- Issues related to data quality, local district capacity, and privacy protections present roadblocks to the state’s future progress