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Improved Education Data Collection

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) all collect data about the resources and services for the children, youth and young adults that they serve.  The data is collected as part of their enrollment or employment processes and document the demographics, special needs, academic levels and employment status of our students from early learning through work force.  Before September of 2015, Minnesotans had no way of proving that the dollars spent during the early learning years had a positive impact on the work force years.

“Better decisions require better information” is the principle that the National Center for Education Statistics used to provide grant funding for states who applied through a competitive application process.  The state of Minnesota was and is committed to making data informed decisions for students in the early learning through work force stages of their education.  The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) was awarded the funding to coordinate the data from the state agencies into the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Education Data System (ECLDS).  ECLDS and SLEDS is managed jointly by the OHE and its partners.  All data is protected and does not allow for identification of individual children.  

Who this impacts:

  • Anyone who is interested in our students’ well-being.
  • Anyone who is interested in the impact of our public funds.
  • Legislators, Educators, Community Members, Parents


Before the SLEDs system was built, staff at MNCDHH and OHE started discussing the possibilities of collecting and using the data.  The goal was to ensure that the students who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing were included first in the development of the system.  The system captures, analyzes and uses data from birth through employment.  We knew that we needed to participate from the start in order to advise state partners on the needs of our communities and have access to the rich data of the system.  D/DB/HH education is in fact, the first two special education categories to have specific data included in the web pages. “Thanks to the data from SLEDS and ECLDS, we can track students who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing from birth to age 21. We will know the results of the MCA tests scores all the way through enrollment in developmental education. We’ll know the numbers of those who go on to post-secondary education and those who find gainful employment.”  MNCDHH has supported OHE’s requests for state funding in 2013 for the initial large sum of funds, in 2015 and 2017 for on-going funding and in 2019 to add funds for ECLDs and increase funds for SLEDs.   According to Meredith Fergus, “The partnership between SLEDs and MNCDHH allows us to better understand how to serve the data needs of disability stakeholders.”   We are now able to make informed decisions from the data shared during strategic planning session at the MNCDHH Deaf Education Summit, the National Deaf Center “Engage for Change” and the EHDI annual meeting.

Who was involved? 

  • Meredith Fergus – OHE
  • Alex Hermida – OHE
  • Mary Hartnett – MNCDHH
  • Anna Paulson - MNCDHH
  • Jay Fehrman- ISD 916
  • Elise Knopf- DEED
  • Rachel Vilsack – DEED
  • Anita Larsen - DEED
  • Mary Cashman-Bakken- MDE
  • Kathy Anderson – EHDI: Low Incidence Projects
  • Nicole Brown – MDH
  • Darcia Dierking - MDH
  • Melinda Marsolek – MDH
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