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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 9:00am

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EMSC Committee


John B. King, Jr.


P-20 Longitudinal Data System and Growth Model


December 8, 2009


Goals 1 and 2






Issues for Discussion and Decision

This item describes both the work to create a P-20 longitudinal data system, already approved by the Regents, and a key issue for the Board’s consideration:

Does the Board want to adopt a new accountability model that includes growth measures as part of the overall accountability measurements? If so, the data system will accommodate that model.

Proposed Handling

That the Regents approve the concept of the growth model in December. Staff will bring a proposal to the Board for formal approval in the spring.

Background Information

              As a keystone educational reform to raise achievement and close the achievement gap, the Regents have decided to create a P-20 longitudinal data system. This greatly expanded system will be used to identify very early whether students are on track to succeed in school, help teachers and school leaders improve instruction and school climate, and identify best practices and models of excellence that can be replicated statewide, for example, P-12 schools that are doing an exceptional job raising the achievement of disadvantaged students and teacher education institutions that excel in preparing teachers in different fields who consistently raise the achievement of high need students.   

In order to construct a P-20 longitudinal data system, we are undertaking a series of major initiatives:


  • Reform the current P-12 data system so it is faster, more efficient, and easier to use.


  • Add additional data elements that are needed to make the system more complete and useful. This work will require additional resources.


  • Apply for funding that will enable us to add data elements and capabilities that are beyond current financial resources.


  • Apply for a competitive federal grant to improve state longitudinal data systems. New York has applied for the maximum $20 million grant. We received a grant this year for $7.8 million to improve the current P-12 data system.


  • Apply for Race to the Top.


  • As funding becomes available, utilize the best of the instructional reporting and improvement systems now in use in New York State and incorporate them into a single flexible system that will provide both standard and custom reports to all teachers, school officials, and parents. The resulting system will include important State-collected data as well as local data unique to each school. We will supplement this system with extensive ongoing professional development statewide to ensure that users know how to analyze their data, identify problems, and use proven, research-based practices to improve student achievement.


In a separate set of initiatives, we are researching possible growth models that will more sensitively measure improvement in student achievement. As you know, New York State’s original proposal for a growth model was turned down by the U.S. Education Department. We are now researching the type of growth model used in Colorado and Massachusetts. Colorado received approval to use it from the federal government.

Reform the current P-12 data system

              We have sought advice from various consultants, formed an internal Project Team of data and technology experts, and are now in the midst of an overhaul of the P-12 data system. We have:


  • Provided electronic reports to districts so they can quickly review the data they report.
  • Introduced electronic checks and edits to help districts improve data accuracy.
  • Eliminated the long delays districts have experienced in verifying their accountability and other data (the “spinning cube”) by providing faster alternative reports. 
  • Announced school and district accountability designations in August, several months earlier than ever before.


We will release School Report Cards in January, months earlier than before.

              The current contract with a vendor, the GROW Network, ends in October 2010. We are planning now to bring back into the Department many of the functions performed by GROW; this work is ongoing and may change depending on resources.

              These improvements have been carried out in a very close collaboration between the Department’s data operation and the 17 Regional Information Centers and Big 5 Data Centers. These centers have helped design and host the new electronic data verification reports for districts. They also help schools collect, report, and analyze the data accurately, provide professional development to schools, scan grade 3-8 tests, and offer other services. In the future, the RICs and Big 5 Data Centers will also be critical in carrying out the expansion of the data system described below.

Add key data elements

              The Data Quality Campaign last month released its scorecard on state longitudinal data systems. New York was credited with 6 out of 10 key data elements.

New York has:


  • Statewide Student Identified.
  • Student-Level Enrollment Data.
  • Student-Level Test Data.
  • Information on Untested Students.
  • Student-Level Graduation and Dropout Data.
  • State Data Audit System.


New York does not have, but plans to design and produce through the federal grants described below:

  • Student-Level SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement Exam data by individual student
  • Data on Student-Level Course Completion (Transcript) Data
  • Ability to Match Student-Level P-12 and Higher Education Data
  • Statewide Teacher Identifier with a Teacher-Student Match.


We have teams working to incorporate the following key data elements:

  • Matching teacher and student identifiers. The Department already collects information on teachers. We are working on ways to match teacher and student information. This information, coupled with information on school courses and assessments, will be crucial in creating an instructional reporting and improvement system.
  • College readiness data (SAT, PSAT, AP, and ACT results). The College Board and ACT will provide us with individual student data and help in matching Department student identifiers with their own data.
  • Course information. This is especially complex. We plan to begin with courses that relate to Regents Exams and Grade 3-8 tests and then expand the system to include other data. Our intent here is to work toward an electronic transcript that would follow students throughout their education.


Fully linking the P-12 and higher education data systems at the State University of New York and the City University of New York, and of course independent colleges and universities that want to participate, will require significant additional funds.

We also are working with other State agencies to link data. The Chief Information Officers from Labor, Health, Mental Health, Children and Family Services and other agencies have expressed interest in this work.

Apply for funding

Apply for a competitive $20 million grant to improve P-20 data systems

              This application has now been submitted to the federal Institute for Education Sciences; a total of $245 million is available, with up to $20 million for the largest states. If funded, the proposal would enable New York to include most of the data elements called for in the America Competes Act and Race to the Top. However, it should be emphasized that the funding would only enable New York to add key data elements. It would not enable us to create a comprehensive instructional data reporting and improvement system. We would also need to find additional funds in order to link fully the P-12 data system with the higher education data system.

Apply for Race to the Top

              This application would propose the completion of a P-20 longitudinal data system and the development of an instructional improvement system described below.

Create a statewide instructional reporting and improvement system

Some school districts and groups of districts have created their own instructional reporting and improvement systems.  As funding becomes available, the State Education Department will combine the best of the systems in the state and create a single flexible statewide instructional reporting and improvement system. All districts will be able to maintain the scope of their current systems while, at the same time, expanding their functionality. Schools and districts will be able to enter their own diverse data, create their own customized reports, and utilize all the best practices that have been developed locally – in essence maintaining all the capabilities that diverse districts currently have developed. Included will be formative and interim assessments and other results that educators can use to create customized reports, as well as the standard reports that already exist. This will greatly enhance the functionality of the system.  As a first step to create a statewide system, we will help to establish pilots that unite several large and small city school districts in New York State. After any necessary changes are made in the pilots, the system will then be expanded to the entire state.

In doing this work, we are aware that the New York City Department of Education has created a system that is in many ways a model. Called ARIS (the Achievement Reporting and Innovation System), it currently provides New York City educators with a single, secure, and comprehensive online platform for analyzing data they can use to improve student outcomes, sharing what they have learned by publishing documents and taking part in discussions and blogs, and finding and working with other educators facing similar challenges. ARIS also provides a secure site where parents can log-in to see their student’s current and past performance, with a structured introduction to student data and its use to improve learning. We will include all these functions in the statewide system.

New York State will also create a sustainable system to provide ongoing professional development for educators in using the instructional reporting system to analyze data and then, once student deficiencies are identified, to take the appropriate, research-driven actions to improve student achievement or school climate. This work will be coordinated to include professional development in instruction, curriculum, and formative assessment.  To deliver this professional development, we will develop a Collaborative Inquiry Network consisting of tiered layers of leaders, plus experts in data, curriculum, and instruction, who are responsible for school-based inquiry teams. Each team will utilize the instructional reporting and improvement system described above, as well as other tools, to analyze the data for groups of students with learning deficits, investigate research-based instructional strategies to solve specific problems, and inform team members and other teams about results.  

              This new system will help propel a fundamental shift in the culture of schools throughout New York State. The system will be data-driven and evidence-driven, emphasize principal leadership and teacher cooperation, and be sustainable. It will provide opportunities for teachers to work actively together – using the data, analyzing the results, and making adjustments in their instruction as needed. 

              New York City currently uses a similar professional development system. The Collaborative Inquiry Network, now two and half years old, emanates from the central administration, which provides a four-person team consisting of a network leader, data expert, achievement facilitator, and curriculum expert to work with each group of 25-30 schools in a single network. This four-person team is responsible for providing the ongoing professional development required for each school-based team. Each single school has multiple teams working with different students on different issues. Each school-based team uses the internet-based ARIS website to create its own inquiry site. On ARIS, each team can access student data to create customized reports around specific problems. The site also hosts a wealth of information used to devise new instructional strategies. The team posts information on results, which is shared with other inquiry teams city-wide.


The inquiry teams have expanded to include 35 percent of New York City’s teachers in only two and a half years, and the expansion continues. New York State will build on this work by creating an infrastructure that scales up the implementation. The State already has school and district support networks that consist of 37 regional Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES), Regional School Support networks, Special Education Technical Resource Centers and Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Centers. These centers already have curriculum, data, and instructional experts who work with districts. In expanding the instructional reporting and improvement system to all school districts, the State will create a collaborative network of Regional Implementation Teams that will reach out to the districts and the district-based networks in each region. The regional teams will be responsible for encouraging all of New York’s school districts to utilize the instructional improvement system and developing the networks of inquiry teams described above.

The entire network will be supported by a Statewide Comprehensive Instructional Reporting and Improvement Center. This Center will help create criteria and rules for reporting, design reports, and coordinate the availability of expert training and technical assistance to educators, workforce leaders, policymakers, and the public who are using the system to obtain information on the performance of students over time. 

Create a growth model for measuring student growth and for school accountability

The U.S. Education Department (USED) has signaled its intention to encourage the use of growth models by states when Congress takes up the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as early as next year. According to Education Week, “The department (USED) also would like to embed so-called growth models, in which schools get credit for improving the progress of individual students, into its new definition of performance targets for schools, said Carmel Martin, the department’s assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, who is helping to lead the ESEA-renewal effort.”              

Colorado and Massachusetts have adopted similar growth models. Currently, they are not used for accountability in those states, but Colorado received approval from the federal government to use its model for accountability. As a result of new legislation, the Colorado Department of Education is now modifying its accountability system to incorporate the growth model. The model was designed by Damian Betebenner and Scott Marion from the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, and they are now working with Colorado to fulfill the requirements of the new legislation. The Colorado model is promising, and Department staff can continue reviewing it, depending on whether the Board wants to move to a growth model.

Issue for decision: Does the Board want to adopt a new accountability model that includes growth measures as part of the overall accountability measurements?



Education Week, December 1, 2009, from an interview with the Education Week editorial board.