Creating a statewide education data system across all levels is a crucial component of a comprehensive P-16 system. It helps inform policy decisions by ensuring that needs are assessed and understood, helps promotes the equitable allocation of resources (when the data are disaggregated appropriately), and is a necessary component of a P-16 accountability system.

    It is difficult to overcome turf issues that arise when sharing data, such as why should one system share data with another if funds could be in jeopardy – why show weaknesses? Also, states must implement the use of common student identifier numbers to track students across grades and systems, without violating privacy rights.

    For more information about possible pitfalls and benefits of creating a P-16 data system, please see the Education Commission of the States’ website at In the PDF Table I: Creating a P-16 Accountability System: Possible Indicators, we list a variety of indicators that could be useful when developing a P-16 data system; since our research focuses on student-related issues, this is a student-centered list. It does not include teacher indicators.

    Table I: Creating a P-16 Accountability System: Possible Indicators

    The table sets forth some possible indicators to include in a P-16 accountability system. Every indicator should be disaggregated (when relevant) by

    • race
    • ethnicity
    • income
    • type of high school (urban, rural, suburban),
    • Title I status
    • whether the student completed a preschool program,
    • special education status
    • LEP status
    • class rank
    • grade point average
    • type of coursework taken (i.e. whether the student followed a college preparatory curricular path)
    • other factors of interest


    All should be reported at the student, educator, district, and state levels, when relevant. Only by disaggregating data can states move toward closing their achievement gaps.

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