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ERIC Number: ED569332
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Strong Foundations 2016: The State of State Postsecondary Data Systems
Armstrong, John; Whitfield, Christina
State Higher Education Executive Officers
This report addresses two key questions about postsecondary student unit record data systems (PSURSs): (1) What data are collected by various parties; and (2) how do these entities use the data to inform policy decisions? This 2016 report is both a follow-up and a redesign of two previous "Strong Foundations" reports by SHEEO (2010 and 2012). While many questions regarding the collection of particular data elements and reporting capacity were retained from the original 2010 survey instrument and the 2012 follow-up, others were revised to further address issues of data utilization. For a list of survey questions, see Appendix A. Like the previous studies, the unit of analysis in this report is the state entity with responsibility for collecting and using student unit record (SUR) data. In most states, a single agency--the coordinating or governing board of higher education--is charged with responsibility for the postsecondary student unit record system (PSURS). In others, multiple agencies (e.g., university or community college systems) collect postsecondary unit record data. In a few states, there is no statewide or systemwide agency charged with housing student unit record data. Thus, while individual states may be highlighted for particular uses of data, and maps are presented for ease of analysis, readers should use caution when attempting to generalize results of this survey for state comparisons. It is more appropriate to compare the characteristics of the unit record systems themselves, rather than the states. For a list of 2016 survey respondents, see Appendix B. Beyond describing the content of PSURSs, this report emphasizes effective use of postsecondary data and the increasing prevalence and importance of linkages between postsecondary, K-12, and workforce data. "Strong Foundations 2016" addresses themes of particular importance in the current postsecondary education environment: performance funding, employment outcomes, remediation, and completions. The report highlights use cases in which PSURSs are used to promote student success. The report also explores necessary conditions for effective use of PSURSs: ensuring data privacy and security, addressing perceived barriers, and promoting sustainability of these systems. The "Strong Foundations 2016" conclusion offers recommendations for further promotion of effective use. The following are appended: (1) 2016 Survey Questions; (2) Respondents; (3) List of Data Elements Collected, by Agency; (4) Metrics Capacity; and (5) Financial Aid Data. [For the 2012 report, "Strong Foundations: The State of State Postsecondary Data Systems--2012 Update on Data Sharing with K-12 and Labor," see ED540260.]
State Higher Education Executive Officers. 3035 Center Green Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301. Tel: 303-541-1600; Fax: 303-541-1639; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers
Identifiers - Location: United States