When you see this logo, or a variation of it, you will know the source of the data is VLDS

New windows of insight. For the very first time, VLDS makes it possible to tap into and analyze data that has been up to now unavailable. It was either too time-consuming or too costly to capture, quantify and dissect or simply not permitted to use for cross-agency research. We only now are beginning to recognize the many possibilities and answers that VLDS can provide. VLDS is not one set of findings, but the engine behind innumerable categories of data mining and analysis to create usable information for policy. VLDS initially is built on education and workforce programs, but its collaborative, inter-agency data-merging model has been designed to efficiently onboard agencies responsible for other priorities in Virginia.

Burning Questions

VLDS is organized around addressing questions that are pivotal to Virginia citizens and policymakers. These "Burning Questions" are built upon the following framework:

  • Impact of health, social service, education, and workforce pipeline on Virginia’s economy;
  • Return on investment of health, social service, education, and workforce opportunities and programs;
  • Alignment of health, social service, education and workforce programs to known and projected employers’ needs;
  • Collective, long-term impact of health, social service, education, and workforce programs on people served;
  • Pathways to the workforce, patterns of employment, and factors or conditions that predict success; and
  • Factors or conditions that have the greatest impact on educational achievement and later productivity.

In addition to the burning issues, each agency provides a research agenda specific to their most salient research needs.  Agency research agendas are updated frequently and ensure studies aligns with time-sensitive, high priority agency research needs.

Click here to view agency specific research agendas.

Research Process

Conducting research with VLDS requires several steps.

  1. Receive preliminary approval.

    Researchers interested in VLDS should work with a sponsoring agency to develop and refine research questions consistent with the burning issues and the respective agency’s research agenda.  Agencies determine on a case-by-case basis whether they will support a research project.  These decisions are typically determined by:
    • What are the participant outcomes of student and workforce opportunities and programs?
    • How do education and workforce programs align to known and projected employer needs?
    • What is the return on the investment from specific types of education and workforce opportunities and programs?
    • What factors or conditions lead to high-quality education and workforce outcomes?
    • How does participation in public assistance programs (e.g. child care, WIC, Head Start, SNAP, TANF, Medicaid) in Virginia impact school readiness, school achievement, health, family cohesion, future employment, and wages?
  2. Set up your research proposal and gain formal approval.

    The VLDS portal is user friendly and provides easy steps to receiving your data. Once you receive preliminary approval of your project, you will be provided access to the VLDS researchers’ portal and can submit a formal research request. You will complete a description of your project, add researchers (each one will need to sign a nondisclosure agreement), and select data fields you’d like to receive. If data are requested across multiple agencies, each agency will need to approve and sign the data agreement. Once this approval is complete, you will be provided access to develop and execute your query.

  3. Develop your research query.

    This is an important process that requires frequent collaboration with the agency (or agencies) to ensure you understand the data fields you’d like and the amount of data you need.

  4. Conduct your research.

    Once you receive the data, set up times to check in with the agency to ask questions or check on findings you discover. Often, agency staff can explain why data may be missing or why data distributions may be different than expected.

  5. Communicate your findings.

    Talk to your sponsoring agency about a plan to communicate your findings. Agency staff are required to review data tables prior to publication but may also identify opportunities to share research findings through the VLDS blog, Insights conference, or briefings with decision makers or legislators.

Interested in learning more about VLDS? Contact us: vldsinsights@schev.edu.

VLDS Research

Use the links below to review research products based on VLDS data.

VLDS Research “In Progress”

Resources for Additional Insights

Data Quality Campaign: Data is Power