This blog post is designed to pull some of the different themes from two different sessions.  The first “Best Practices in Linking PK-12 ad Higher Education Data” was a more technology based discussion and the second was a session on NCES data that are available.

The first session focused on the best practice winners from the annual PESC best practices competition.  Lately there has been a strong trend toward best practices that are submitted which focus on linking the work of K-12 with the needs and work of postsecondary researchers. 

This session primarily focused on the underlying data architecture that is required to “link” the data.  By migrating away from EDI and replacing with XML but still retaining a common architecture the data are able to be used more broadly while ensuring greater quality.

Data interoperability is a significant issue.  As a primary research company, IQS Research is fortunate to be able to gather the vast majority of the information we need for our studies.  However, when working with education research there are huge opportunities when we can link our primary research findings, on the individual respondent level, to performance data within the education system.  Furthermore, if those educational performance data are interlinked such that we can trace a student across state lines, across universities, etc, we are able to heighten the data we provide.

These data are currently being analyzed and compared at the aggregate and strata level, but further interoperability ensures that we can drill down to the student level in most cases. That will allow us the ability to identify attitudes and behaviors at the individual level and compare those to the self-reported information for purposes of building regression models and defining predictors for success.

Even though we cannot directly link our data to this information there is still a lot of great secondary research data available to the public at www.nces.ed.gov.  Under their data tools tab and their surveys and programs tab there are a myriad of studies and data that can be accessed.  Many of these are longitudinal in nature and track students from elementary into their careers (different studies).