Collaboration between K–12 public school districts and higher education, as well as between education institutions, workforce groups, and community organizations, has the potential to improve college and labor market outcomes for individual students and for local communities. However, improvement efforts demand the use of longitudinal data to define the problem, set goals, and monitor progress. California has been behind in building such a longitudinal data system—linked across pre-K through postsecondary sectors—to track individuals’ education and labor market outcomes. In the absence of a statewide systematic method for tracking students’ educational trajectories and employment outcomes, education institutions and community organizations are working in regional partnerships to effectively use data to improve student outcomes.
In this brief, we share these lessons and highlight promising practices from intersegmental partnerships across California. Drawing on more than 30 interviews of key leaders from 27 education and community organizations, a survey of higher education administrators, and an extensive document review, we describe the efforts of local leaders to solve regional challenges related to student outcomes and economic demands. We focus specifically on the conditions necessary for data sharing and current practices in data management, analysis and reporting, and use of data to inform improvement efforts.
The related Resource Guide is intended to serve three purposes: 1) a framework to orient intersegmental leaders to the different aspects of effective strategies for data sharing and use; 2) a tool to facilitate reflection on current regional and institutional priority areas and data practices; and 3) a networking resource to identify and learn about data practices from other partnerships in the state. The guide presents the critical components of effective regional efforts around data sharing and use, with tools to dive deeper into specific factors within each of these components. This framework is supplemented with descriptions of partnership approaches and artifacts to support intersegmental leaders, data directors, and analysts.