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​What is ILDS?

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), along with our Education Partners, is now actively moving forward with the design and development of the state-wide Illinois Longitudinal Data System (ILDS).  The system, when fully deployed, will provide data to help to track the outcomes of Illinois students as they progress from Pre-K through Postsecondary education, and as they enter the workforce.  Longitudinal data supports an in-depth, comprehensive view of students’ progress and will ultimately help guide policymakers on where to invest time and energy to most effectively improve student achievement in our State.

The ILDS is defined by Public Act 96-0107 and enabled through federal funding, and instructs the State Board of Education to link student test scores, length of enrollment and graduation records over time.  The system also will connect students to career planning and resources, with the potential to facilitate the application process for financial aid and records for transfer students.


​ILDS will serve a large stakeholder group, including:

  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Local Education Authorities
  • Regional offices of education and intermediate service centers
  • Parents and other members of the general public
  • State Legislatures
  • News media
  • Research organizations
  • Postsecondary Institutions
  • State workforce and higher education agencies
  • Education Partners

In preparation for the implementation of LDS, ISBE has put in place key building blocks that support the gathering of data, while ensuring the privacy of the individual student’s information.  A state-wide student identifier system is now in place, and is actively being used to link student records along their academic path.  This unique identifier removes the need to use personal identifiers to help track individuals. 

Project activities include working with the stakeholders to define the appropriate data access rights for each group while preserving the privacy of individuals per Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA).

Illinois has received two federal grants that help provide funding for the ILDS project.  The initial Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grant is comprised of five major components:

  1. Establishment of Data Advisory Committee – The Committee consists of a broad group of stakeholders that advise ISBE and its Education Partners on data use and data management. This group helps define the data gathering and reporting requirements for ILDS, along with advising on data coordination across agencies.
  2. Development of an Enterprise-wide Data Architecture – This provides the blueprint for the ILDS Data Warehouse, establishing standard data definitions for reporting and data transaction sets that support interoperability with partner systems.
  3. Improved Data Quality through Data Stewardship- ISBE has established a system of data stewards that are responsible for data quality and data management, including developing processes for statistical checks of LEA data submissions, and for supporting and expanding training opportunities to improve data quality.
  4. Development of an Education Enterprise Data Warehouse – This effort puts in place the infrastructure, tools, and data constructs that enable analysis and research of student level data. ISBE will link their student-level data to other student-level data to enable analysis and research, and will also build Data Marts to support federal reporting, streamlining the processing to construct these reports.
  5. Linking of the ISBE Unique Student Identifier with Postsecondary and Employment Data – This effort broadens analysis and research opportunities by establishing data sharing agreements and the technical links between ISBE, postsecondary, and employment systems and data. With these links in place state level education and employment agencies will have access to shared data supporting long-term longitudinal studies and other research efforts.

The second grant, the Statewide Longitudinal Data System Recovery Act Grant, is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Referred to as the ILDS Expansion Project, it is comprised of four interrelated components:

  1. Establish a Statewide Transcript System for Middle and High School Students – This system collects student-level transcript information, including information on courses enrolled, completed, and grades earned, and also included the implementation of a statewide course classification system.
  2. Integrate Student-level Data with Teacher and Administrator Data – ISBE will redesign its teacher and administrator data collection systems to permit integration of student-level data with teacher and administrator data.
  3. Continued Expansion and Development of Postsecondary Education Data Systems – ISBE and its state education partners will expand upon current postsecondary education data systems to included data from private postsecondary educational institutions, data from out-of-state institutions of higher education, and workforce and employment data.  This expansion will also include the development of enhanced public reporting tools to provide postsecondary educational institutions, LEAs, and the public with information on a variety of useful measures addressing postsecondary education performance.
  4. Expansion of Early Childhood Data Collection Systems – the state longitudinal system collects data on children participating in state-funded prekindergarten programs and special education early childhood programs.  Through the ILDS Expansion Project, ISBE now collects data from infant and toddler programs that are funded through the Early Childhood Block Grant into the state longitudinal data system to capture information on all of the state-funded programs in Illinois serving children from birth to five.

The four components also address many of the data collection requirements the state must meet as part of Phase II of the Education Fund under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) Program.

The ILDS Project Management Office is established, and project activities are underway. Work to build the Enterprise-wide Data Architecture has been completed and work is underway to design and build the Education Enterprise Data Warehouse.

The Data Advisory Committee is comprised of members from partner organizations representing School Boards, School Districts, Teacher and School Administrators, the Legislature, Postsecondary Education, and Research Organizations throughout Illinois. The committee meets on a quarterly basis to assist in the development of the information and guidance needed for building the data architecture and data warehouse for ILDS.

Data Stewardship activities targeted to support data quality and data management initiatives are ongoing.  The results of these activities can be viewed on the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program page.

In cooperation with education partners at the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the Illinois Shared Enrollment and Graduation (ISEG) and the newly formed Illinois Higher Education Consortium (IHEC), ISBE is linking P-12 data with Postsecondary data.  In addition, ISBE is exploring a growth model assessment approach that will allow us to connect the assessment data to teachers and then to teacher preparation programs.

ISBE is in the process of establishing a research agenda and is exploring relationships with postsecondary research resources. This effort will help identify and define the key policy issues in the State; communicate research priorities and recruit researchers to address these priorities; facilitate the data-sharing agreements and administrative aspects of research projects; communicate research findings and develop recommendations for policy and practice; assist practitioners in developing research capacity for data collection and analysis; and seek and secure external funding for additional projects aligned with state priorities.

Student Information System (SIS) expansion has resulted in the implementation of a Statewide Course Classification System and the collection of courses and grades for high school students. During the 2011-2012 school year this work will expand to include K-8 course data, and the collection of teacher course assignment data. Expansion of the collection of Early Childhood Data Collection System, integrated within the (SIS) has been completed and implemented for the 2011-2012 school year to support the collection of early learners from 0 to five years of age.

Work is beginning for the redesign and rewrite of the teacher and administrator data collection systems. Targeted for implementation in the summer of 2012, this will support the linking of teacher and student data. Integration of this data supports the evaluation of teacher preparation programs, and will also support the use of student growth data as part of the teacher and administrator evaluation process.

The ILDS project will continue to build additional data collection capabilities while seeking opportunities to reduce the data collection burden for school districts, perform integration of student, teacher and administrator data, and establish additional intergovernmental agreements with postsecondary education and workforce institutions to develop and expand the linking of education data.​​​​​​

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