2021 VLDS Research Forum: Connecting to an Equitable Future with the Virginia Longitudinal Data System


On September 28-30, 2021, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and VLDS partner agencies hosted the 2021 VLDS Research Forum supported by a federal grant VDOE received in 2019. This virtual event brought together nearly 130 talented and passionate professionals from state agencies, universities, and industry experts to share insights and expertise around leveraging data systems to advance research, policy, and statewide decision-making centered on equity. The next research forum will be held in Fall 2022. 

VLDS recently published an equity-centered Research Agenda to identify key research and analysis priorities across state agencies within the Commonwealth. The 2021 Research Forum will highlight the agenda’s goals, share successes and impacts of VLDS research, discuss best practices for working with VLDS data, and highlight perspectives from key leaders in data and equity-centered work.


2021 VLDS Research Forum Session Recordings   

Breakout Session A 

Topic: VLDS 101 

Presenter: Craig MoebusDBDriven 

Description: Designed for individuals new to VLDS, this session will provide an in-depth review of how VLDS operates, including user access procedures, data availability, data matching and de-identification procedures, and the type of output users can anticipate. 




Breakout Session B 

TopicQueries in VLDS  

Presenter: Ron Parrish, VDOE 

Description: Designed for individuals who will be requesting and working with VLDS data, this session focuses on how to design successful queries and packages in VLDS to get the most out of the data available, including the use of filters to manage query size and scope.  




Breakout Session C 

Topic: Incremental Improvements: How Research Improves Data 

Presenter: Jeff Price, Ph.D., VDSS  

Description: State agencies glean opportunities to improve data availability or data structures within VLDS from their engagement with researchers. As Chief Data Officer and Director of the Office of Research and Planning at the Virginia Department of Social Services, Dr. Price will discuss how recent research projects evaluating the impact of agency programs and service delivery have resulted in enhancements to agency data and informed future system plans.  




Breakout Session D 

Topic: Working with VLDS: One Researcher’s Advice     


Luke Miller, Ph.D., University of Virginia  

Description: When analyzing VLDS data, researchers can take several important steps to ensure their findings reflect the context that generated the data and to maximize their findings’ impact on policy and practice. Dr. Miller has been working with VLDS since 2012, and will share his perspective on the value of developing collaborative research partnerships with state agencies, and identifying ways to use VLDS data elements to create new data elements relevant to the research purpose.  




Breakout Session E 

Topic: Research to Operations      

Presenter:  Carlos Rivero, Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia 

Description: As head of Virginia’s Office of Data Governance and Analytics within the Secretary of Administration, Mr. Rivero’s mission is to maximize the value of Commonwealth data through strategic governance, secure and appropriate data sharing, and enterprise analytics to inform actionable intelligence. For this session, Mr. Rivero will share his vision for the future of data governance, data sharing, and data analytics in Virginia, including how the Virginia Longitudinal Data System, Virginia’s Open Data Portal, DataSAGE, and the Commonwealth Data Trust can work together to address equity.