National Approach


Photo Credit: Apps4VA

With the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS), information about schools and individuals are recorded. All of the individual information is kept safe and it only tracks a student as long as he/she attend a school within Virginia. If a student moves out of state the VLDS system stops tracking the individual. There is no national databases yet, because there are three states that are not using any type of system to track their education programs.

Not only does this system track the educational whereabouts of students but it tracks the average income that is to be expected from attending college. VLDS is working to narrow the focus even more by being able to track which degrees make the most money.

Currently, only researchers have access to this information, but this information could be vital to parents looking to make informed decisions about where they would like their children to go to school. This information could be critical to recruiters when looking for candidates for new jobs as well. But since this system only tracks state-by-state, information could fall through the gaps if someone moves around the country a lot. This information could be better utilized if it was taken nationally. If all 50 states tracked their students to see where they went through their college years and the income levels after college it could paint a better picture of our education system nationwide instead of on a state-to-state basis.

Apps4VA is a huge driver behind the VLDS system. It is working hand and hand to create a powerhouse of information that can change the way people look at the VA school system. This system will track demographics about schools, the surrounding areas, performance levels of the students, etc. all while keeping the students information secure. But what happens if the student moves out of state? If they move to one of those three states that does not track their student’s educational history then their information stops there. If they move to a state that does use a tracking system, it begins again, but it starts from scratch. The information is not carried over.

Apps4VA is being utilized already and will continue to help the Board of  Education make improvements in the following way:

The Commonwealth will use these apps to
– help students, educators and administrators make better data-driven decisions
– measure Virginia students’ performance;
– decipher factors that affect student performance;
– reveal ways to better prepare Virginia students to enter the workplace;
– help Virginia students compete in the global marketplace;
– provide Virginia teachers with tools to help tailor their programs to student needs;
– facilitate communication and collaboration among Virginia school divisions to compare best or promising practices; and
– plan for future educational, technological and workforce needs.

VLDS said this information is used to help inform lawmakers on how to better reform education. If there are laws that are make that will affect the country as a whole when it comes to education, why not have a system in place that provides sufficient data to these lawmakers to help them make informed decisions. Why wouldn’t you want to take this nationally?


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