Demand is high for detailed information on students’ progress and outcomes through their postsecondary education. Many factors contribute to this increased desire for information, including a renewed emphasis on institutional accountability, interest in consumer information for prospective students and regular inquiries from policymakers to state coordinating and governing boards. State Postsecondary Unit Record Systems (PSURS) are the primary means for gathering student progress and outcomes metrics at a state level. PSURS generate critical information on key state-level initiatives to improve student success, such as performance funding, workforce outcomes, and improving remedial education.
PSURS have expanded amidst the increasing demand for this kind of information to include more data elements and link to other public databases to enable analysis of students across the educational pipeline and into the workforce. SHEEO has periodically administered a survey of PSURS since 2010. Over the last eight years, linkages have grown to the point that 29 states (see below) are able to connect unit records from K-12 and college and into the workforce. This allows researchers to report metrics relating to transitions along the educational pipeline. Examples of such reports include high school feedback to K-12 principals denoting the percentage of high school graduates who went on to earn a degree and wage outcome reports for postsecondary graduates by discipline.