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.
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 in RCW 43.41.400. 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.
In 2009, the legislature passed another bill containing important additions to ERDC, requiring it to:
These additional duties were incorporated into the ERDC’s mission and agenda.
ERDC received grants from the Department of Education and Department of Labor. Among many things, this allowed ERDC to:
The ERDC continues to seek grants to help fund its operations and provide better services to stakeholders throughout the state.
ERDC maintains a powerful, secure, and efficient educational data warehouse 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.