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REL Pacific

CNMI and Guam Longitudinal Data Systems


This REL Pacific coaching project is designed to support stakeholders in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam as they work to implement longitudinal data systems that will help inform policy and practice and enable education stakeholders to monitor and support students' learning and development.

High-Leverage Need

Ensuring that students are college and career ready is a priority for educators, policy makers, employers and families in both the CNMI and Guam. Many students, however, do not appear to be ready for college after high school graduation. The consolidation of data from multiple siloed systems into longitudinal data systems in these jurisdictions will allow users to gain more information about the high school experiences of their students, particularly information about which college and career readiness indicators are available and useful to stakeholders who want to improve post-secondary readiness.

Monitoring student learning and development is an essential part of a high-quality education system and can help determine if students are progressing at an appropriate rate (Education Commission of the States [ECS], 2017). The creation and use of a longitudinal database is one tool to monitor students' progress. A longitudinal data system “collects and maintains detailed, high quality, student- and staff-level data that are linked across entities and over time” in order to provide a complete academic and performance history for each student (National Forum on Education Statistics, 2010). Because these databases enable the connection of student information across years and services, they can provide practitioners with a clearer understanding of different factors, such as school climate, graduation rates, course grades, and attendance. More than 35 states and the District of Columbia have developed longitudinal data systems that connect at least two of the following education systems: early learning, kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12), postsecondary, and workforce (ECS, 2017).

Research shows that to create a longitudinal data system, stakeholders need to understand what a longitudinal data system is (and what it is not) and the components necessary to achieve a sound system (National Forum on Education Statistics, 2010). Necessary components include unique student identifiers, student data, teacher unique identifiers to link teacher and student data, teacher and staff data, reporting and analysis tools, a data warehouse, interoperability (ability to transfer data between systems) and portability (ability to share information across systems), privacy protection, data sharing beyond K–12 (P–20), and a data audit system to assess data quality, validity, and reliability. Without these components, a longitudinal data system may not meet the needs of education stakeholders as they strive to improve student outcomes.

REL Pacific Project Support

The goal of this coaching project is to support stakeholders in both the CNMI and Guam as they work to implement longitudinal data systems that will help inform policy and practice and enable education stakeholders to monitor and support students' learning and development in relation to these predictors. REL Pacific coaching support is focused on the characteristics of a high-quality longitudinal data system, as informed by the research base, and on sharing a range of approaches participants could take to develop and implement such a system.


Christina Tydeman

Christina Tydeman, REL Pacific Director, has substantial experience supporting program improvement through program evaluation, formative learning and large-scale assessments, development and use of educational data systems, and professional development for teachers and leaders. She has contributed more than 30 years toward improving the instructional practices of educators and the outcomes for students in K–12 and post-secondary settings in both the public and private sectors. Dr. Tydeman is a growth-oriented systems thinker who is committed to improving instruction and programs through reflective practices and is well versed in techniques and strategies for supporting adult learners. Her 15 years as a classroom teacher and nearly 20 years as an administrator in public school systems in California and Hawai'i have provided her with extensive knowledge of education system processes, trends, and challenges. Contact Christina at or call 1.808.664.8186.



Education Commission of the States. (2017). Policy snapshot: Longitudinal data systems. Systems.pdf.

National Forum on Education Statistics. (2010). Traveling through time: The Forum guide to longitudinal data systems. Book One of four: What is an LDS? (NFES 2010–805). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.