ERDC’s History

In May of 2007, Governor Christine Gregoire created the P-20 Council, with the assignment to track student progress and transitions through school, from preschool to college, in order to determine ways to improve student outcomes. To do this, various state agencies and universities (including the Office of Financial Management, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and the Employment Security Department) needed to form a partnership to share data and build a longitudinal student data system.

ERDC is created

During the 2007 session, the Washington Legislature passed a bill that created the Education Research & Data Center (ERDC) in the Office of Financial Management. The aim of ERDC was to make education data available policy-makers and state organizations that make decisions related to Washington students, while also protecting the privacy of students. ERDC was partnered with the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee to conduct analysis of early learning, K-12, and higher education programs across the P-20 system and into the workforce.

The legislation gave ERDC specific tasks:

  • Coordinate with other state education agencies to compile and analyze education data
  • Collaborate with the LEAP Committee and the education and fiscal committees of the Legislature to identify the data to be compiled and analyzed to ensure that legislative interests are served
  • Track enrollment and outcomes through the Public Centralized Higher Education Enrollment System (PCHEES) that already exists at the Office of Financial Management
  • Assist other state educational agencies’ collaborative efforts to develop a long-range enrollment plan for higher education
  • Conduct research that focuses on student transitions within and among the early learning, K-12, and higher education sectors of the P-20 system
  • Share data from collaborative analyses with education agencies and institutions that contribute data to the education data center

All state agencies involved in education, as well as public universities and colleges, were directed by the legislature to set up data-sharing and research agreements with ERDC. Private, non-profit universities and schools were encouraged to do so as well.

The legislature expands ERDC’s mission

In 2009, the legislature passed another bill containing important additions to ERDC, requiring it to:

  • Identify the critical research and policy questions that ERDC and its data needs to address
  • Lead P-20W data governance
  • Serve on the K-12 Data Governance Group
  • Provide the K-12 Data Governance group a list of data elements and improvements necessary to ERDC’s work
  • Monitor and evaluate the education data collection systems of the organizations and agencies that contribute to ERDC, and ensure that they’re flexible and that the data they provide is relevant
  • Make recommendations to the legislature to help ensure the goals and objectives of the comprehensive K-12 education data improvement system and the K-12 data governance group are met

These additional duties were incorporated into the ERDC’s mission and agenda.

Federal grants enhance ERDC

ERDC received grants from the Department of Education and Department of Labor. Among many things, this allowed ERDC to:

  • Increase access to information by creating online feedback reports for school districts, colleges and universities
  • Produce in-depth analyses of P-20W questions
  • Significantly improve the functionality, quality, reliability, and standardization of ERDC’s data warehouse
  • Expand ERDC’s data to include workforce programs, meaning that ERDC could track workforce program participants to school and back to the workforce

The ERDC continues to seek grants to help fund its operations and provide better services to stakeholders throughout the state.

ERDC today

ERDC maintains a powerful, secure, and efficient educational data warehouse that that includes data from early learning, K12, post-secondary, and workforce sectors. Research using this data helps students, parents, teachers, administrators and legislators make important decisions about the future of education in Washington. In recognition of its accomplishments, Informatica highlighted ERDC’s data effort with a 2014 Innovation Award.

As a leader in educational data, ERDC is always striving to improve data gathering and governance practices to benefit not just students in Washington but throughout the nation as well.

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