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OECD-AERA Meeting Examines Longitudinal Data Systems
 
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Felice J. Levine (AERA),
Stephan Vincent-Lancrin (OECD)
December 2015

AERA and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) convened more than 40 experts from the United States and 13 other OECD countries December 3–4 in Washington, D.C., to explore important issues for consideration in developing international guidelines on the research use of longitudinal data systems.

The meeting was planned and led by Felice J. Levine, AERA Executive Director, and Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin, senior analyst at the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), who opened the meeting. Welcoming remarks were also provided by Peggy G. Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, and Finbarr (Barry) Sloane, program director at the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate, which has special responsibility for big data.

This working meeting was structured around a series of interactive general sessions and breakout groups to isolate issues, opportunities, concerns, and potential solutions directed to maximizing the quality and use of longitudinal administrative data systems. Core topics included the benefits of these systems for education research and innovation; data models, operability, and next-generation systems; privacy, confidentiality, and data management/security; and data governance. Although participants pointed to variation across states and nations, there was a commonality of purpose across diverse stakeholders, including researchers, data managers, government officials, statisticians, and data providers, among others.

The aim of the meeting was to enable sound and safe use of administrative information systems consonant with privacy protection. A joint AERA-OECD team will develop a draft report for initial consideration by attendees. The anticipated report and guidelines will not be directed to a one-size-fits-all plan but to a statement of shared principles and agreed-upon guidance appropriate for the intended purposes of the data system and those investing in its support and development.

For OECD, this meeting, “The Potential of Longitudinal Information Systems for Innovation and Research in Education – Toward International Guidelines,” was the third in a series and followed “Fostering Innovation and Improvement in Education: The Role of Longitudinal Information Systems,” which was held in New York City in 2014. For AERA, this meeting reflected its leadership role in fostering the sound scientific use of large-scale longitudinal data and its attention in recent years to addressing the use of administrative data systems. The Association’s work in this area is made possible through the AERA Grants Program supported long-term by the National Science Foundation.

 
 
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