A Unique Identifier to Support Linking Records and Calculating Unduplicated Counts

A truly unique identifier in education is one of the few puzzle pieces that tie a successful Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) together. A unique identifier serves many purposes, including:

  1. Accurately and securely identifying individuals
  2. Efficiently and reliably linking records
  3. Protecting privacy
  4. Improving the quality, accuracy, and reliability of data.

Through eScholar’s implementations of eScholar Uniq-ID®, agencies have had great success using the unique identifier for linking records and calculating unduplicated counts in early childhood and K12 education. This process ensures that a student in one or more groups or programs would only be counted once in the calculation.

Through assigning unique identifiers, individual records are maintained by state education agencies and local education agencies and can be linked to but not limited to test scores, disciplinary records, attendance, assessments, and progam eligibility in a state like Head Start or other benefits.

In one example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) began using eScholar Uniq-ID, known as the PASecurelD, in 2007 for their K-12 students. In 2009, PDE, began assigning the PASecurelD to all children enrolled in publicly funded Early Childhood Education programs and linking this data to the K-12 data. With PASecureID, Pennsylvania can answer many sophisticated questions about their early childhood learners and their long-term outcomes.

eScholar Uniq-lD uses a combination of matching algorithms to ensure that records are matched accurately. These matching algorithms include, but are not limited to:

  • Population Rule Set, which accounts for regional and ethnic name characteristics
  • Deterministic, probabilistic, fuzzy, phonetic, and transliterate match types ‘
  • Spelling errors, multi-part, typos, and mixed usage name handling
  • Handling for special characters

Since 2007, Pennsylvania has assigned over 5 million unique identifiers to ECE and K-12 students. To learn more about how the Pennsylvania Department of Education is using a unique identifier to unduplicated counts and link student records across agencies, click here to download the full case study.

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