Memorandum of Understanding

Purpose statement

The purpose of the Washington P-20 and workforce data system is to increase understanding of educational programs and outcomes and relationships to employment programs and outcomes. The system links education and workforce sectors and focuses on the transitions between these sectors. It provides unique opportunities for collaboration among the partner agencies to work together.

This Memorandum of Understanding memorializes agreed principles by the partner agencies concerning how data will be contributed and shared and sets forth some responsibilities of the data recipients, whether they are partner agencies contributing data or other requestors.

Principle 1: Education Research and Data Center provides cross-sector, linked data to all data consumers in a consistent, transparent way

ERDC provides cross-sector, linked data and analysis. Cross-sector is defined as including at least two education or workforce sectors. Single-sector data requests will be referred to the appropriate agency. If requested by a partner agency, ERDC may assist with a single-sector analysis.

Principle 2: Education Research and Data Center maintains the P-20 and workforce data warehouse

  • Partners are committed to populating the data warehouse with more and better data as it becomes available to load into the data warehouse.  ERDC is committed to providing opportunities for on-going consultation regarding data quality and new data.
  • ERDC is established as an authorized representative of the state educational agencies for purposes of researching and analyzing data to support education budgeting and policymaking functions of the Legislature, the Governor, and state educational agencies. The Legislature created ERDC and authorized the longitudinal data system in the same comprehensive bill, evidencing an intention that ERDC would perform research and analysis on data collected through the longitudinal data system. (ATG Memorandum, July 9, 2008)
  • The P-20 system includes education agencies and the Employment Security Department (RCW 43.41.400).
  • Partner data contributors agree to share student and workforce data through ERDC to the extent feasible. The data contributors share data enabling research and evaluations to improve their respective programs through the analysis of student, educator, fiscal and workforce data.
  • ERDC coordinates the matching and de-identification of individual-level records in order to protect the confidentiality and privacy of individual students, workers and employers.

Principle 3: Protecting the privacy of individuals is a priority

Three levels of data can be extracted from the data warehouse:

  1. Highly Restricted-Use Data (Level 1) - Data that include information about the identity of individuals and employers is confidential.  Level 1 is the term for data that contains individually identifiable information.  Level 1 data require specific procedures to protect confidentiality per FERPA regulations and other state and federal requirements.  These types of data are rarely shared and shall only be used for unit record matching purposes.
    1. Access to Level 1 data requires a formal request that must be approved by a Data Request Review Board and any other data contributors.
  1. Restricted-Use Data (Level 2) – Data at the unit record level but containing no individually identifiable information. Level 2 data are all information in those files and all information derived from those data including data resulting from merges, matches or other uses of the data. Merging Level 1 data records with Level 2 data records results in a merged file that is Level 1. Merely deleting identity fields from a Level 1 files does not necessarily create a Level 2 file. Disaggregation of Level 2 records, even without explicit identification fields, may result in a record where the identity of the subject could be reasonably inferred.
    1. Access to Level 2 data requires a data sharing agreement with ERDC (data contributors do not have to sign the agreement).
  1. Public-Use Data (Level 3) – Data aggregated from Level 2 data that contain no unit record data, is for public use, and acceptable for publication purposes.    Access to Level 3 data is unrestricted.

Principle 4: Partner agency data contributors (at the state and local levels) are experts at understanding and explaining the data

  • ERDC will refer single-sector data requests to the appropriate agency.
  • ERDC will confer with all data contributors before responding to a request for cross-sector information.
  • ERDC will notify pertinent state agencies when data have been shared.
  • Recipients of ERDC data or reports will be provided an agency contact to communicate with regarding use of the data.
  • Recipients of data will provide an opportunity for ERDC and data contributors to review and comment on research design, drafts of findings and conclusions, and final reports.

Principle 5: Common understanding and use of data increases its value

With any public display of data, data recipients must include the methodology and assumptions used on a data set.