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Administrative Order No. 261

I, Sean Parnell, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution, establish an education data sharing (EDS) policy to promote the sharing of unit level data among State agencies and institutions relative to higher education and career outcomes for Alaska’s citizens.

Background and Purpose

AS 14.43.840, enacted by the Legislature in 2010, directed State agencies and the University of Alaska to share data in order to report to the Legislature on outcomes of Alaska’s educational systems. Currently, Alaska’s educational programs operate without the benefit of specific outcome data that demonstrate whether programs and interventions are effective in meeting State and policy goals. Reliance on one-time studies, framed within the interest area of a single entity rather than longitudinal studies designed to meet key public policy objectives, is inadequate and an inefficient way to measure program success or return on investment.

Alaska’s three educational agencies – the Department of Education and Early Development, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education – administer various programs in which K-12, postsecondary, and workforce/ employment data is collected. This Administrative Order constitutes direction authorizing the agencies to share unit record data among the agencies, to the extent permitted and under the conditions required by applicable statutes and regulations, to facilitate the evaluation of education program outcomes.

The EDS policy will reduce barriers to sharing unit record Alaska education pipeline data, while protecting personally identifiable information. Specific benefits and results include:

  • Enhanced ability for education agencies to share data while ensuring Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance;
  • Enhanced ability to measure the impact of educational programs – concrete outcomes in terms of postsecondary and career success, resident hire, etc. – rather than just program costs and inputs;
  • Enhanced efficiency for agencies relative to data management; and
  • Enhanced protection of personally identifiable information through shared agency data governance and management protocols.

Agency Directives

The EDS policy will assist in developing the statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS). Therefore, I direct the Department of Education and Early Development (EED), the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (Labor), and the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE) (collectively the EDS policy team), to serve as primary State agencies under this Administrative Order, as follows:

The agencies shall coordinate the gathering and sharing of data regarding K-12, postsecondary, and workforce/employment data. The executive director of ACPE, or the executive director’s designee, shall chair the EDS policy team. Each educational agency shall designate an EDS policy team member. The EDS policy team may invite other education and non-education agencies, both at the State and local level, to share their unit level data with the EDS policy team. ACPE, as authorized under AS 14.42.035, shall request institutions of public and private higher education and other postsecondary education and training to share unit level data for the purpose of facilitating this EDS policy.

  1. The agencies shall share unit record data between each agency for the purpose of facilitating the evaluation of program outcomes. Unit record data exchange of Alaska K-12 and postsecondary records and Alaska workforce/employment records is essential for being able to evaluate program outcomes. The EDS policy team is explicitly authorized to receive and maintain protected unit record information from
  2. The EDS policy team shall work together for the purpose of developing and implementing a statewide longitudinal data system to connect K-12 data with postsecondary and workforce/employment data while at the same time protecting personally identifiable information and complying with all applicable privacy laws.
  3. Further, relative to the SLDS, the EDS policy team shall invite participation of the University of Alaska and other State agencies, such as the Department of Health and Social Services, the Department of Corrections, the Permanent Fund Dividend Division (Department of Revenue), the Child Support Services Division (Department of Revenue), and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, which provide publicly funded or subsidized services to the citizens of Alaska, for the purposes of identifying more specifically the individual and societal impacts associated with specific outcomes of Alaska’s education systems.
  4. The State agencies named in this Administrative Order may enter into memoranda of understanding among themselves and with other State agencies as necessary to accomplish the purpose of this Administrative Order.

This Order takes effect immediately.

DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 5th day of December, 2011.

/s/Sean Parnell

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