Launched this year by a laundry list of heavyweight partners (Achieve, CCSSO, NCEA, National Governors Association and several others), the Data Quality Campaign will promote and support the development of longitudinal data systems by the states. They explain the value in this in their inaugural press release: "Longitudinal Data—data gathered on the same student from year to year—makes it possible to follow individual student academic growth, determine the value-added of specific programs, and identify consistently high-performing schools and systems worthy of study." In other words, data that allows you to more accurately see what's happening and what's working.
Their initial efforts focus on:
- educating their target audiences on the value of longitudinal data
- providing information on how to build longitudinal data system
- highlighting the state of the states in their use of longitudinal data
- promoting data standards and collaboration in systems development
I believe that NCLB, while containing any number of flaws, has been an instrumental first step in turning the conversation towards data-driven improvement in education. There are still tremendous strides that need to be made in what's measured, how it's measured, and how we improve in all areas - but initiatives like the Data Quality Campaign show that once you've established a goal, you're able to start putting the right pieces of the puzzle together.
At any rate, take a look at http://www.dataqualitycampaign.org/
for more information.