For Immediate Release 
Monday, April 6, 2009

Illinois selected to receive $ 9 million grant to improve education data infrastructure 

Federal grant will improve analysis and use of data to better prepare students for success

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to receive a nearly $9 million Statewide Longitudinal Data System grant.  Illinois has proposed developing a Longitudinal Data System that will collect and maintain high quality individual staff and student data from pre-school through college and careers that is linked with districts across the state. ISBE will receive nearly $1.2 million during FY 2010 for activities to support LDS development, with additional funding to be spread over FY 2011-13.

“The federal grant will allow us to move forward sooner with the LDS. This is one of the priorities the board has identified, and it’s also one of the assurances the Obama administration is looking for from states before they can access stimulus funds,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Educators need to have high quality data to make the best decisions on how to improve student achievement.”

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires a greater use of data by educators in decision making. The State Longitudinal Data Systems grant is intended to promote the generation and accurate use of data by states and local districts. It allows states to design, develop and implement statewide systems to manage, analyze, separate and use individual student data.

Illinois has already put into place some of the foundation for a longitudinal data system, including the development of a unique student identification system and collection of student level data.  Moreover, ISBE, along with the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, has proposed legislation (Senate Bill 1828, sponsored by Senator Heather Steans) designed to further promote the development and implementation of the LDS.   

The federal grant and the pending state legislation will allow ISBE to begin taking the next steps of integrating all ISBE student-level data and connecting it with data from other parts of the agency, including staff data and special education. The LDS will also, among other things, ease the burden of data collection on Illinois’ local school districts and streamline the process of state and federal reporting. 

“Having this additional link, beyond high school into college and the workforce will allow us to look at the impact of educational programs on student outcomes,’’ said Miguel del Valle, an Advance Illinois board member and former chair of the Illinois Senate Education Committee. “Parents will be able to sit down with students sooner and figure out what classes they will want to take to enter a particular field, what scores and GPA’s they will need to attain to get into colleges.’’