Critical Connections: Linking States’ Unit Record Systems to Track Student Progress

Multi-lateral exchanges of data drawn from state-level student unit-record systems (SURs) hold considerable promise for enhancing policymakers’ and researchers’ understanding of how students flow through the increasingly complex postsecondary educational “pipeline.” Because most students now attend multiple institutions in order to earn a degree and many cross state lines in doing so, constructing a comprehensive picture of longitudinal enrollment behavior requires drawing data from multiple sources and housing these data in a secure environment capable of supporting sophisticated data analyses. Supported by a grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education, NCHEMS examined the data contents of all extant state-level SURs and, as documented by a report published by Lumina in April of 2003 entitled Following the Mobile Student, determined that they contained the requisite data elements to support such an approach.

Available for download from the Lumina Foundation.

Learn more about State Postsecondary Data Systems.

Publication Date: 
Monday, January 1, 2007
Peter Ewell and Marianne Boeke
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