The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) held Communities of Practice: Aligning K-12 and Postsecondary Education in Denver on Dec. 7-8, 2021. Communities of Practice is a multi-faceted project promoting the effective use of state postsecondary data systems and provides a forum for states to work on solutions to common issues with those systems. This work is funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
This two-day meeting provided an opportunity for state researchers, policy analysts, and state education agency (SEA) employees to explore practical uses of state K-12 data for improving college access and success and how state postsecondary data can better inform the K-12 to postsecondary pipeline. Best practices were shared, and common challenges and solutions were discussed. The Community of Practice convenings are a valuable opportunity for states to connect with their peers and reflect in-depth on the capacities, uses, and barriers to their data systems.
This Community of Practice addressed the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the K-12 to postsecondary pipeline, the differential impacts on students of color and low-income students, and how state postsecondary data systems can be used to promote equitable outcomes for the most vulnerable student populations. Other topics included:
- Developing shared definitions and accountability metrics.
- Implementing a joint research agenda and improving research capacity.
- Protecting data privacy, confidentiality, and security.
- Improving the utility of high school feedback reports.
- Developing data resources related to dual and concurrent enrollment.
- Optimizing state longitudinal data systems and interactions with other administrative data systems.
- Gauging the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs.
- Using data to inform meaningful K-12 and postsecondary partnerships.
The Aligning K-12 and Postsecondary Education Community of Practice included teams from up to 15 states, SHEEO staff, BMGF staff, and subject-matter experts from national postsecondary and K-12 organizations. This convening launched an ongoing network for Community of Practice members to share information and workshop solutions with their counterparts in other states.