NC pedagogical office: NC longitudinal data system

The North Carolina Education Cabinet met virtually on Wednesday, February 10 to discuss the findings and recommendations of a study of the North Carolina Longitudinal Data System (NCLDS), among others.

The cabinet, created by law, brings together the main actors involved in education from cradle to career. In 2017, Governor Roy Cooper tasked the firm to focus on three areas: recruiting and retaining teachers, sharing data between education sectors, and post-secondary success for the development of education. workforce.

Cabinet members include representatives from the Department of Education (DPI), State Board of Education, NC Community College System, UNC System, NC Independent Colleges and Universities, NC Department of Health and Human Services ( DHHS) and CN Department of Commerce.

Strengthening the NCLDS

The NCLDS is described as a “system of systems” that links data from all organizations – including Early Years, Kindergarten to Grade 12, post-secondary education, and the workforce – over time to support evidence-based public policies, performance management and continuous improvement.

The NCLDS connects formerly siled information about students that tracks their performance from entering the early childhood system to their labor market outcomes. For example, longitudinal data systems allow policy makers and other stakeholders to answer questions such as: Which industries employ the most high school and college graduates? Which pupils from which schools need remedial courses in higher education? Does participation in NC Pre-K correlate with obtaining a post-secondary diploma?

The NCLDS encompasses three existing longitudinal data systems: the Common Follow-up System (CFS), the Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS), and North Carolina SchoolWorks (NCSW).

Courtesy of UNC Public Policy, EPIC

In January 2018, Cabinet Education created a working group to improve data sharing between members. This group identified the need to strengthen the state longitudinal data system. Since then, a few steps have been taken to do this, including:

  • Under state law, there is a requirement for administrative rules that govern the operation of the NCLDS. The rules were approved in December 2020.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that describes how data will be shared between agencies and how the system will be operated has been signed by all current data contributors.
  • The Hunt Institute has written a research agenda that will guide how the state can use the NCLDS to best answer questions from policymakers and agencies.

Additionally, in August 2019, the Education Cabinet approved a move for the Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC), housed within the North Carolina Department of Information Technology, to hire a consultant to identify ways to modernize and strengthen the data system. In June 2020, the Public Policy Department at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC) completed the study.

Zach Ambrose, founder of Ambrose Strategy and one of the study researchers, presented the results at the meeting. He described the many groups from which the study drew contributions, including North Carolina education stakeholders, comparator states, and national groups.

Courtesy of UNC Public Policy, EPIC

One thing that stood out from those talks, Ambrose said, was the consensus on the value of an integrated and modernized NCLDS. Interviewees mentioned the importance of harnessing it to answer questions about transitions between education systems and to foster continuous improvement and strategic planning.

Another theme of the interviews was the importance of trust.

“Stakeholders said that their trust has been strained in the past due to ambiguity regarding the location, leadership and purpose of existing LDSs, and that trust between agencies, between partners, really goes be vital to a successful NCLDS, ”Ambrose said.

Next, Ambrose presented the eight recommendations for the study, which are presented below.

Courtesy of UNC Public Policy, EPIC

The third recommendation concerns governance, which Ambrose says is essential to trust. The study recommends the establishment of an executive committee to act as the decision-making body for the NCLDS. It would set the policies and approve the priorities. The study also recommends the hiring of a general manager who would implement the decisions of the executive committee. In addition, the study recommends that the NCLDS be hosted within the GDAC due to its status as a neutral entity that has gained the trust of stakeholders.

The fourth recommendation concerns the prioritization of NCLDS users. The study recommends starting with policymakers – such as members of the General Assembly, agency heads and members of the governor’s office – who would use the NCLDS to set policy. The second group would consist of program administrators, such as school district leaders, who would use the NCLDS to effectively implement policies. The third group would be made up of external researchers.

The final recommendation concerns the creation of an action plan, which includes funding to support the NCLDS. The study recommends that state credits fund basic functionality of the NCLDS, rather than grants. Ambrose said this signals that this will be a long-term effort and allows the system to be designed to meet the needs of the state.

Learn more about each recommendation in the study summary or in the final report.

Geoff Coltrane, Cooper’s senior education advisor, presented the next four steps to the Education Cabinet for review. The Cabinet task force selected them based on the findings of the study.

Courtesy of UNC Public Policy, EPIC

Here are the recommended members for the executive committee.

Courtesy of UNC Public Policy, EPIC

Mandy Cohen, a cabinet member and secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, asked what the timeline would be for using the NCLDS to take action. Coltrane clarified that while these recommended next steps are aimed at strengthening the NCLDS, the system can also be used to answer research questions when data is available.

“I think it’s not only important to provide these answers, but in terms of really building support and helping other stakeholders see the value of NCLDS, it’s a really valuable approach to bring the ‘General Assembly and others to participate – because they can see what is going on. possible, ”Ambrose said.

Catherine Truitt, cabinet member and state superintendent of public education, asked about establishing a contract with the National Student Clearinghouse to include data from this system in the NCLDS. Ambrose recommended integrating the system’s existing data sources first, and then moving to adding additional sources.

Cooper asked for objections to the next four steps outlined above. Truitt asked to add myFutureNC to the list of executive committee members. With this addition, the next steps were approved by Cabinet.

DRIVE working group

The Education Cabinet also heard a presentation from Dr Anthony Graham, Chair of the DRIVE Working Group and Rector of Winston-Salem State University.

The DRIVE task force, which stands for Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education, recently released a final report that includes recommendations for diversifying North Carolina’s teaching workforce.

Graham described the state of teacher diversity in North Carolina, noting that 79% of teachers are white while about 53% of students are students of color.


He then described the report’s recommendations and strategies, as well as short-term strategies for immediate implementation. These short-term strategies include supporting community college gateways to Educator Readiness Programs (EPPs) through articulation agreements and reallocating resources to intentionally recruit first and sophomore students to EPPs. (with an emphasis on students of color).

In the wake of Graham’s report, many Cabinet members weighed in on strategies to recruit a more diverse faculty, including recruiting teaching assistants, expanding the NC Teaching Fellows program, and initiating students. to the teaching profession earlier. Graham noted that these strategies, and many more, are all included in the report.

“The question now becomes: are we going to provide the investments, financial and otherwise, to make sure that we can execute these different ideas so that they become sustainable? ” he said. “This is the key question: are we ready to invest? “

See Graham’s full presentation here.

As a next step, Cooper asked each cabinet member to nominate someone who would meet as a group to assess the short-term strategies of the DRIVE report. This group will identify existing resources that could be used to implement them immediately. Then, they would determine the capacity constraints that need to be addressed in order to fully implement the selected strategies.

Analisa Sorrells

Analisa Sorrells was the Chief of Staff and Associate Director of Policy for EducationNC.

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