Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and conducted by
the Center for Educational Leadership and Technology (CELT)

Project Description

The Teacher-Student Data Link (TSDL) Project began with bringing five states together to determine a common approach to one of the most critical components of their educational data systems — the link between teachers and students. Across the nation, states and districts continued to use accountability data as part of their efforts to increase student learning. Leveraging the collective experiences, knowledge, and supports of the participating states, the TSDL project developed resources such as a common, best practice framework for defining teacher of record and contributing professional, key TSDL components and guiding questions, a TSDL purposes wheel, and an updated data model and process diagram for collecting and validating linked teacher and student data.
The Center for Educational Leadership and Technology (CELT) conducted the project, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and with guidance and dissemination support from the Data Quality Campaign (DQC). DQC's Ten Essential Elements have been incorporated into the TSDL Project. Project activities, learning, and results are being disseminated to other state and national education agencies and associations.

The Department of Education and three local education agencies in each of initial five states — Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio — worked with CELT field researchers to assess how they collect data and verify its quality. Using the state reports developed from that research, each state selected which recommendations to address in their TSDL pilot projects. These pilot initiatives focused on improving the policies, processes, and data systems from the classroom to the state level as a way of to increase the validity, reliability, and alignment of teacher and student data.

The important lessons learned in those pilot projects as well as the resources developed are being shared with additional states in Phase II of the TSDL project. Colorado and Kentucky joined the effort and received a range of services and support. In addition, up to 15 additional states were identified to receive targeted technical assistance focusing on their priority areas. CELT continued to manage the project, make site visits, and provide TSDL expertise gained through Phase I. Also, CELT refined the best practices and increased the knowledge base on critical topics such as roster verification.

State and local agencies received a number of benefits from their participation in the TSDL Project:
    • Contemporary research and emerging best practices
    • Common framework for definitions of teacher of record and contributing professional with associated policies, processes, and technology architecture that will guide and inform implementation
    • Processes to support valid and reliable use of unique student and educator identifiers
    • Strategies for validating teacher and student profiles and classroom rosters
    • Database of research, best practices, and action plans
    • Data model and process diagram for collecting, reporting, and updating the teacher-student data link
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