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Building Authentic Stakeholder Engagement in the Mid-Atlantic Region Through the Longitudinal Data Use Research Alliance

Tue, April 12, 8:15 to 9:45am, Convention Center, Floor: Level One, Room 101

Abstract

Objective
REL Mid-Atlantic’s experience with fostering a cross-state collaboration among different stakeholder groups in the region focusing on longitudinal data use will illustrate how creating authentic engagement in research-practitioner partnerships can support efforts to maximize longitudinal data use.

Theoretical Framework
Among the eight research alliances at REL Mid-Atlantic, the Longitudinal Data Use Research Alliance (LDURA) engages stakeholders from every state education agency in the region, as well as representatives from school districts, regional universities, and other entities, in a conversation about longitudinal data use. REL researchers who coordinate LDURA work with stakeholders to bring project updates, research reports, data and technical assistance resources, and professional development directly to state and district practitioners and decisionmakers in the region. REL researchers incorporate strategies outlined in Leading by convening: A blueprint for authentic engagement as a foundation for structuring the research alliance. (Cashman et al., 2014) At the core of this work is the belief that the key to successful collaboration among stakeholders is building personal relationships among them.

Methods
REL researchers convene and facilitate one in-person and four online meetings of LDURA each year with the goals of (1) identifying and researching longitudinal metrics obtainable from data commonly collected in state longitudinal data systems that go beyond snapshot dashboards and accountability calculations and (2) encouraging dialog among diverse groups with advanced data use needs (3) assisting them in identifying actions that will ultimately improve student achievement. Alliance members develop the agenda for each LDURA meeting.

Data Sources and Materials
Meetings of the LDURA give REL researchers an ongoing opportunity to engage in active need-sensing with stakeholders. By talking with alliance members about their current experience with their state longitudinal data systems, researchers are able to identify best practices and share them regionally. They can also provide technical assistance and tools that help stakeholders. The work of LDURA is also regularly monitored through Stakeholder Feedback Surveys.

Results
Comments from the Stakeholder Feedback Surveys reveal that by facilitating a regional conversation, LDURA has filled a void for stakeholders who often do not have peers at their own agencies facing the same challenges. Regional dialog has allowed alliance members to brainstorm strategies for common challenges and to share their experiences.

Significance
States across the country have invested many resources in creating state longitudinal data systems; however, analysis of data in these systems has been limited. LDURA demonstrates how regional partnerships can promote information sharing and cooperation across state lines. By facilitating review, discussion, implementation, and dissemination of innovative uses for longitudinal data, the partnerships assist state and local practitioners and policymakers and maximize the use of longitudinal data in the region.

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