Indiana Dashboard Provides Clear, Comprehensive Data Story


Written by:

Views: 1411

The authors would like to extend a special thanks to Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner for her insights and contributions to this post. To learn more about data systems, check out our Key Issue page on the topic.

In December 2022, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) launched the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed Dashboard (Indiana GPS). The aim is to compile education data from early childhood education to postsecondary in one, easy-to-use dashboard. In spring 2021, the Indiana General Assembly tasked IDOE with creating a longitudinal dashboard by 2024. Indiana GPS was released almost two years ahead of schedule in December 2022.

“‘Graduates Prepared to Succeed’ is our mission in K-12; it’s our goal,” said Indiana Secretary of Education, Katie Jenner in an interview with Education Commission of the States staff. “We have to be laser-focused on the fact that every child needs to have a plan after high school that is not only doable, but that they already connected to while in high school to ensure a seamless transition.”

Inspired by storytelling and Apple’s marketing and web design, the Indiana GPS homepage shows the journey through K-12 education and “sell[s] why education matters,” according to Secretary Jenner. Throughout the dashboard’s development, IDOE’s team had the chance to be creative and make meaning out of data to tell that story.

Indiana is one of 19 states with a longitudinal data system that connects early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary and workforce data for a full spectrum system. Much of Indiana’s data was already housed under the Management Performance Hub (MPH). Data not housed within MPH was obtained via memorandums of understanding with other state agencies. Thanks to the general assembly and governor’s support, IDOE ultimately collaborated to collect all the data Indiana GPS required.

The dashboard spotlights several key characteristics that make up potential profiles of developing high school graduates: Academic mastery; career and postsecondary readiness (credentials and experience); communication and collaboration; work ethic; and civic, financial and digital literacy. With this data, the department is looking at how to make four years of high school more valuable for students, especially since 76% of Indiana high school students currently share a desire to continue their education, while the college-going rate is 53%.

“We’re losing about 20% of [that] cohort; 15,000 students who, when they walked across the graduation stage, had these big plans and it didn’t happen,” Secretary Jenner said. “Our question, as a state, is, ‘why?’”

Through Indiana GPS, the department hopes to better support high school, middle school and elementary school students.

By successfully building upon existing data collection and reporting requirements, Indiana GPS helps develop a positive information culture. State policymakers can feed into this culture by creating data systems that serve their stakeholders. ECS has identified several key principles that constituent-serving data systems, like Indiana GPS, demonstrate. These data systems:

  • Develop a vision. An effective data system shows the value of collected data. A comprehensive story spanning early childhood education to workforce demonstrates the value of data connections and the need for high quality measures to achieve Indiana’s goals.
  • Foster coherence. Since dashboard data was already being collected by individual entities, Indiana GPS aligns data across agencies to tell a coherent story about measures of student success and performance.
  • Build capacity. Indiana GPS was created with intentionality. The department kept users in mind by soliciting feedback from educators, parents and communities to determine characteristics essential for students’ lifelong success and to empower users with a comprehensive understanding of their own schools.
  • Increase access. The dashboard is publicly accessible and serves as a one-stop shop for a wide selection of Indiana’s education data.

With ever-changing data, Indiana GPS remains nimble. This year has already seen one new update and six more are on the way, including adding individual student data (available only to the student’s school) and a comparison tool. The department continues to engage stakeholders when adding data to the dashboard that may not have been measured before. Purposefully building adaptability into Indiana GPS allows the department to showcase the state’s dynamic education landscape, data and students.

Author profile
State Relations Associate at

As a state relations associate, Madeleine focuses on building relationships with commissioners and education leaders to support their policy goals. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Madeleine worked in the state office of a United States senator. Madeleine is dedicated to establishing an equitable future through education as well as other avenues.

Author profile
Senior Policy Analyst at Education Commission of the States |

As a policy analyst, Zeke tracks legislation related to statewide longitudinal data systems, school safety and postsecondary campus safety. He has been with Education Commission of the States since 2014. Zeke has a passion for local politics and enjoys following the varied policy approaches of city and state leaders.

Comments are closed.