Are you my teacher?

Blog post Nancy Wilson

This article was written by Nancy Wilson of Collaboration Synergy. You can email her at

Teachers across the SREB region and the nation are wary of the use of student growth scores in their evaluations. They want to know with certainty that their evaluation score is a reflection of how they taught the students in their class. As more states begin using multiple measures to examine the impact of instruction on student learning, it becomes even more critical to establish a valid and reliable Teacher-Student Data Link (TSDL) within their state and local district/charter school data systems.

Such a link connects the correct student outcome in a designated content area to the educator determined to have responsibility for teaching that student and the associated outcome. Each state decides within their environment whether these are mandatory statewide requirements or recommended guidelines, and options for local districts and charter schools.TSDL resources and best practices have been developed by the Center for Education Leadership and Technology, in collaboration with the Data Quality Campaign. Several SREB states were lead pilot states during the project including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.

They engaged teachers and administrators in focus groups across the states to create TSDL recommendations on key areas such as defining teacher of record and contributing professional, determining data elements and building a roster verification process.

An accurate and timely teacher-student data link requires a number of education system activities and responsibilities to be thoroughly discussed and aligned. TSDL research has identified those areas, grouping them into the following set of ten key components:

  • Use and Purpose of the Teacher-Student Data Link
  • Data Governance Structure
  • Unique Student Identifier
  • Unique Educator Identifier
  • Courses and Schedules
  • Daily Attendance/Membership
  • Assessments and Outcomes Data
  • Data Linkages, Flow and Integration
  • Interagency Data Systems
  • Policies and Definitions