About the ERDC

Who Are We?

Washington’s Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) compiles data about students as they move through school to the workforce. It transforms this data into insights that inform the decision-making of legislators, parents and education providers. As the home for the state’s trusted longitudinal data system, ERDC works with partner agencies to develop powerful analyses of learning that can improve student outcomes.

Why Do We Exist?

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) collects data on student enrollment and outcomes from kindergarten to 12th grade. In addition, each post-secondary institution (e.g., the University of Washington, or Pierce College) collects data about student enrollment and outcomes within their institution. But neither OSPI nor post-secondary institutions have the data they need to offer insights into whether various high school programs and interventions influence post-secondary enrollment or workforce outcomes.

And that is where ERDC steps in. Researchers at ERDC have built a longitudinal data system, which is a data system that includes information on Washington students across multiple sectors. These sectors include early learning, K-12, post-secondary, and workforce sectors, which are referred to collectively as P20W (preschool to grade 20 to workforce). This data is shared with ERDC by partnering agencies and institutions across the state. In this way, ERDC acts as a kind of “central hub,” where partnering agencies, institutions, and organizations can pool their data and seek answers to questions that none of them have the resources to answer by themselves.

What Do We Do?

At ERDC, we build and maintain a P20W longitudinal data system, by partnering with data contributors throughout the state. The purpose of this longitudinal data system is to enable researchers at ERDC and elsewhere to conduct valuable research that informs policy- and decision-making both at the state level and within partnering institutions. Stakeholders throughout the state, including state policy-makers, school superintendents, school principals, university administration, and academic researchers, benefit from the research conducted by researchers at ERDC.

ERDC limits itself to seeking answers to cross-sector research questions (questions that cannot be answered by institutions within one sector). For example, exploring whether continuous enrollment from 9th-12th grade effects high school graduation rates is a within-sector question – something that can be analyzed by researchers at the OSPI using data that the OSPI already has available. In contrast, exploring whether continuous enrollment from 9th-12th grade effects post-secondary enrollment and outcomes is a cross-sector question, and so it is the sort of question that the ERDC might attempt to answer.

While ERDC has a staff of researchers to conduct research, we also share data with organizations and researchers throughout the state who want to conduct research of their own. This data is stripped of personally identifiable information, but is still shared only under the protections of strict confidentiality agreements. The ERDC values student privacy and complies strictly with laws and regulations that protect that privacy. For more information, visit here.

Vision, Mission, and Priorities

ERDC is committed to providing valuable education and employment data that protects student privacy. Our Vision, Mission, and Values inform the work we do and the way we do it.

Vision

To promote a seamless, coordinated preschool-to-career (P-20W) experience for all learners by providing objective analysis and information.

Mission

To develop longitudinal information spanning the P-20W system in order to facilitate analyses, provide meaningful reports, collaborate on education research, and share data.

Priorities

  1. Coordinate, facilitate, build upon, and enhance the education data collection and analysis already being done by multiple agencies and institutions.
  2. Adhere strictly to both the letter and spirit of privacy laws affecting individual student record data, and be sensitive to other privacy concerns.
  3. Achieve consensus wherever possible among participating agencies and institutions in determining the best data and research available to help guide the implementation of P-20W goals.
  4. Conduct all business, data development, and research in an open and transparent fashion (to the extent allowed by privacy laws), with the full inclusion of education agencies, organizations, and institutions as well as legislative participants.
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