Kentucky has earned high marks for its effective collection and use of educational data to improve student achievement.

The assessment was part of Data for Action 2013, a report released by the Data Quality Campaign, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national organization that promotes better data, improved access, increased awareness on how to interpret and use data and long-term sustainability of longitudinal data systems –systems that allow for the comparison of the same data elements over time.

Each year, Data for Action measures the progress of every state toward implementing 10 State Actions to Ensure Effective Data Use.

  • Link state K–12 data systems with early learning, postsecondary, workforce, and other critical state agency data systems.
  • Create stable, sustainable support for longitudinal data systems.
  • Develop governance structures to guide data collection and use.
  • Build state data repositories.
  • Provide timely, role-based access to data while protecting privacy.
  • Create progress reports with student-level data for educators, students, and parents.
  • Create reports with longitudinal statistics to guide system-level change.
  • Develop a purposeful research agenda.
  • Implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data.
  • Promote strategies to raise awareness of available data.

In Data for Action 2013, Kentucky is credited with carrying out all but one of the actions — implement policies and promote practices to build educators’ capacity to use data. In addition to Kentucky, four other states also achieved nine actions. Only two states, Arkansas and Delaware, accomplished all 10 actions. Last year, Kentucky had implemented six actions up from only two actions in 2011. The average number of actions achieved by states increased from 4.7 in 2011 to 6.6 in 2013.

“Kentucky has made tremendous progress in the past few years in the collection and use of data,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “By building a robust system that connects multiple data collection systems, we can ensure parents, educators, policymakers and others have the information they need to make the best educational decisions for our children.”

Principals, superintendents, and other administrators use information on how the students body as a whole is performing to measure progress and make decisions to ensure that more students graduate ready for the rigors of postsecondary education and the workforce. Data about how their graduates fare after high school help them identify best practices or make adjustments to their programs or curriculum.

Policymakers use data to make difficult policy, program, and resource allocation decisions.

Education data includes any information that supports student learning such as student and teacher attendance, services students receive, student academic development and growth, teacher preparation information, postsecondary success and remediation rates, test scores and more.

“Kentucky takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that data are used appropriately and student data are kept private and secure,” said Kentucky Department of Education Association Commissioner David Couch. “Only those who need student-specific data have access to it.”

In Kentucky, the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) is charged with maintaining the state’s longitudinal data system.  Kentucky’s system collects and links data from the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, the Education Professional Standards Board, the Kentucky Higher Assistance Authority, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to evaluate education and workforce efforts in the Commonwealth.