State Longitudinal Data System
What is Iowa’s State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS)?
Iowa’s State Longitudinal Data System brings together quality, timely longitudinal data that are used to improve education and student outcomes in Iowa. A collaborative partnership between multiple agencies makes this possible, and a robust governance and data security structure ensures the safety and integrity of the data. The SLDS brings tremendous value to the state of Iowa, providing unrivaled insight into the educational experiences and post-high school activities of Iowa’s students.
The mission of the SLDS is to facilitate the sharing of data across agencies that can be used for reporting or for evaluation and analysis that leads to a greater understanding and, ultimately, improvement, through data-driven decision making, in educational outcomes at the elementary, secondary, postsecondary and higher education levels and in workforce outcomes.
Iowa’s SLDS partnership includes the following partners.
- Iowa Area Education Agencies
- Iowa Board of Regents
- Iowa College Student Aid Commission
- Iowa Department of Education - Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation
- Iowa Department of Education - Bureau of Information and Analysis Services
- Iowa Workforce Development
History of Iowa’s SLDS
Iowa has been working toward a comprehensive SLDS for nearly two decades, aided by three federal SLDS grants (in 2009, 2012 and 2019) and supported by the Iowa Department of Education (Department) and other state agencies and organizations.
During the 2003-04 school year, Iowa Code 256.9(44) established a unique student identifier system, and the Department’s K-12 division established a student management system and standard data collection which allowed for the collection of information needed to meet state and federal reporting requirements.
In 2007, the Department invested $1.9 million to build a foundational component of Iowa’s SLDS infrastructure: EdInsight—a PK-12 Education Data Warehouse. This portal allows K-12 education stakeholders such as Principals, Curriculum Directors and Assessment Consultants secure, restricted access to data and pre-formatted reports.
In 2009, the Department received an $8.8 million SLDS grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences focused on infrastructure and interoperability enhancements related to the EdInsight platform.
In 2012, the Department received an additional $3.7 million SLDS grant intended to help Iowa expand the SLDS beyond K-12. With these funds, the Department’s K-12 division established partnerships with the Iowa Board of Regents, the Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation and Iowa Workforce Development. These collaborations resulted in new reports including the Postsecondary Readiness Reports, the Community College Feedback Reports and the Iowa Skilled Worker Pipeline report.
From 2016 to 2019, the SLDS partnership expanded to include new data, new reports and two more partners (Iowa College Student Aid Commission and Iowa’s Area Education Agencies). Then, in 2019, the Department received another SLDS grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This $3.5 million grant focused on addressing issues related to equity in education, including expanding data analysis and reporting to help identify equity gaps and developing infrastructure to facilitate secure, on-demand access to data to support students.
Iowa’s SLDS, and the partnerships that support it, power a wide range of reports, research and analysis that enable and encourage data-driven decision making in many areas of Iowa’s education system.
Publicly available products powered by the SLDS:
- Postsecondary Readiness Reports
- Iowa Student Outcomes
- Iowa School Performance Profiles (Postsecondary Enrollment page)
- Iowa Condition of Education (High School Graduate Postsecondary Enrollment and Awards)
- Iowa eTranscript Gateway (in progress)
- Summer Melt research brief
- Regents Admissions Index Core Courses list
- Iowa Skilled Worker Pipeline report
Other products, not publicly available, powered by the SLDS:
- EdInsight - Iowa’s Data Warehouse contains a collection of reports, many of which are available at the K-12 school, district, AEA and state level, summarizing high school and postsecondary performance and outcome measures, available to authorized users. Includes the PREP Dashboard report. Click here for more information on EdInsight.
- Community College Transfer Reports - annual report created for each community college in Iowa summarizing post-transfer outcomes
- Required Federal reporting, including EdFacts Postsecondary Enrollment and B14 reporting on high school students with disabilities
- Research in progress: Long-Term Work Outcomes: Data from the Classes of 2005, 2010, and 2015
- Research in progress: Declining College Enrollment
The Iowa SLDS is governed by the SLDS Project team, which manages the day-to-day activities related to maintaining and securing the SLDS, and the SLDS Steering Committee, which sets the overall vision and direction for the SLDS. Both governing bodies are responsible for the safety and security of SLDS data and data systems. For more information on Iowa’s SLDS governance and data security policies and procedures, see the Data Governance Manual.
Iowa’s SLDS Steering Committee maintains a research agenda to guide their research inquiries and to share their research interests with potential collaborators or data users. This research agenda includes in-progress and planned research as well as research interests that are beyond the SLDS team’s capacity to pursue.
Data Access and Use
The SLDS Steering Committee has the authority to grant access to both aggregate and individual-level SLDS data for individuals or organizations. Access to data is at the Steering Committee’s discretion. Requests must comply with federal, state and agency regulations. To request aggregate data, fill out the Iowa Department of Education's standard data request form. To request de-identified individual-level SLDS data, fill out Iowa’s SLDS Data Request form. This companion document contains detailed instructions for filling out the individual-level data request form. Aggregate data requests are typically fulfilled within a few weeks. Individual-level data requests often take months.