About our Program
The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) jointly launched a software application development program known as "Apps4VA." This program challenged the public to review K-12 data and use it to design innovative new tools to aid in better data-driven decisions and intervention strategies. Apps4VA stems from a federal grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to support the development and implementation of a data system that would include linking teachers to their students (while protecting student privacy and confidentiality). This data system, known as the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS), was created to provide educators and policymakers aggregate data on Virginia public school students' progress toward college and career readiness.
WHAT IS THE VLDS DATA SYSTEM?
Thanks to the federal grant, Virginia has a way to store and to use a vast amount of education data - like testing statistics, attendance, dropout rates and post-secondary enrollment figures. The system, known as the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) is designed to store student information from K-12 through higher education and then into the workforce, so that students, parents, educators, policymakers, legislators and even employers can use the information to make decisions that affect students. Interested in an easy explanation? See the video to the right.
IS THE EDUCATION DATA AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE?
There is a direct link to the education data on the Apps4VA Data Page.
How has the data been used so far?
Apps4VA: All of the participants in the various Apps4VA challenges used the education datasets in the Apps4VA catalog, and some created mashups by combining VLDS datasets with other publicly available data (like census, health and real estate statistics). These data were used to create tools that analyze factors that affect academic achievement or to create comparisons of labor market projections to currently available programs, and even tools to predict dropout risks so as to develop appropriate intervention strategies.
SCHEV: The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) used VLDS data to launch a tool that allows users to search potential earnings by occupation or college major and even allows a user to drill down to see earnings potential by academic program for individual Virginia colleges and universities.
The development of further uses of VLDS data creates a win-win for everyone - students, parents, educators, citizens, employers, and policymakers.
The purpose of the Apps4VA program is to accomplish the goals of the VLDS through its sponsorship of events and competitions that encourage the public to design and create dynamic new apps. The new insights provided by these new tools will help us to improve education in Virginia.
The Commonwealth will use the apps developed through the program to
- help students, educators and administrators make better data-driven decisions
- measure Virginia students' performance;
- decipher factors that affect student performance;
- develop strategies and interventions to improve academic growth and achievement
- reveal ways to better prepare Virginia students to enter the workplace;
- help Virginia students compete in the global marketplace;
- provide Virginia teachers with tools to help tailor their programs to student needs;
- facilitate communication and collaboration among Virginia school divisions to compare
best or promising practices; and
- plan for future educational, technological and workforce needs.