|Grant Program:||Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking|
Dr. James Benson
Dr. Allen Ruby
Dr. Corinne Alfeld
REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS:
In FY 2021, IES began the Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking grant program to expand state agencies' use of their State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) for generating evidence in support of education policy decisions. In that year, IES awarded grants for seven projects. These research projects align research with what state agencies want to know about a specific education issue, program, or policy and are to generate findings with practical implications for the state agency's decision making. State agencies can apply for these grants on their own or in collaboration with other organizations.
SLDSs are designed to help states, districts, schools, educators, and other stakeholders make data-informed decisions to improve student learning and outcomes as well as to facilitate research to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps. In addition to a set of common K–12 student data elements (such as student demographics, grade level, enrollment and completion, attendance, and state assessment scores), many of these systems include other K–12 student elements and link K–12 student data to other data. This includes K–12 teacher data, prekindergarten data, postsecondary data, Perkins CTE data, workforce data, and health and human services data. Over the past 15 years and through 6 rounds of SLDS funding, 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have received at least one SLDS grant. For information on what is contained in SLDS, see the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Survey Analysis: Descriptive Statistics (NCES 2021–126) which reports aggregate summary statistics of SLDS capacity and includes the state-level response to the 2018 SLDS Survey collection.
For FY 2022, IES focused the grant program on supporting state agencies' use of their state's education longitudinal data systems (SLDS) as they and local education agencies reengaged their students after the disruptions caused by COVID-19. In that year, IES awarded grants for three projects. These projects (1) identify subpopulations of students that did not engage or progress at expected rates during and after the disruption and the reasons why, and (2) develop evidence on the implementation and impact of programs and policies intended to help these students fully reengage and progress in their education. The research addresses learners in pre-kindergarten, K–12, postsecondary, and/or adult education and examines students overall and underrepresented student subgroups who were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 identified the following subgroups for IES to carry out research related to addressing learning loss caused by the coronavirus: students experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, and subgroups identified in section 1111(b)(2)(B)(xi) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which includes major racial and ethnic groups, economically disadvantaged students, children with disabilities, English proficiency status, gender, and migrant status.. To stress the new focus the grant program was given the new title of Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Recovery Policymaking.
For FY 2023, IES is focusing the grant program on supporting state agencies' use of their state's education longitudinal data systems (SLDS) to understand and support learners affected by opportunity and achievement gaps. From the examination of their SLDS data, state agencies can (1) identify subgroups of learners that do not have access to high-quality education opportunities and/or lack access to additional supports necessary to improve their academic achievement, investigate possible reasons for the lack of such access, and examine options to increase such access; (2) identify variation in learners' access and achievement within these subgroups, investigate possible reasons for this variation (e.g., resources available), and examine the types of supports necessary to facilitate more consistent and equitable access and improve academic achievement based on the reasons identified; and (3) develop evidence on the implementation and impact of new and ongoing programs and policies intended to help learners who are disadvantaged gain access and increase their academic achievement and reduce opportunity and achievement gaps. The examination of these issues, programs, and policies under the Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking grant program will generate findings that state agencies can use to increase these learners'
Research proposed under this grant program should be aligned with what the specific state agency wants to know about how to improve these learners' access and achievement and the findings should have practical implications for the state agency's decision making on programs and policies relevant to these learners.