Data Management: Creating One Version of the Truth
A crucial and challenging decision states face when combining multiple, disparate databases to constitute an SLDS (statewide longitudinal data system) is how the data will be managed. For instance, combining a database with elementary school student records and a database that holds middle school student records within the same school system, there will inevitably be commonalities in those records. That is, students who went from fifth to sixth grade will be listed in both repositories. Certainly, students will transfer schools within the state and be listed in both databases, and if a student goes to college and subsequently enters the workforce, he’ll be listed in each database. Add overlaps that could occur with partner agencies, like a state workforce agency, and there are even more issues in data standards and management processes. How does the SLDS decide which students are the same? How does the SLDS decide which record has the most up-to-date information? Having a process for answering these questions that are sure to come up (and come up often) is essential for the functioning of an SLDS. Having quality, trustworthy and actionable data is vital to the survival of the SLDS. Keeping the data organized, accurate and in good quality are challenges that can be overcome with sound data management procedures.
This chapter will primarily discuss master data management (MDM) as a concept states can use to frame their ...