Report Urges Creation of Student-Level Data System

September 9, 2015

It will be difficult to understand and ultimately improve the performance of American higher education without a better data infrastructure, and a federal student-level data system would be the best method for producing such data, a report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy argues. The report, which grew from a February 2015 meeting of researchers and policy makers on the topic, explores and analyzes seven possible methods of producing better data on student outcomes, such as improving the Education Department's current databases, leaning more heavily on the National Student Clearinghouse, and linking the emerging network of state-level data systems. Creating a federal unit records system would be the best approach, the report asserts, while noting that such a system is currently prohibited by Congress.

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