2018 State Standard of Excellence

4. Data Policies / Agreements

Did the state or any of its agencies have data-sharing policies and data-sharing agreements—consistent with strong privacy protections—with any nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, local government agencies, and/or federal government agencies which were designed to improve outcomes for publicly funded programs, and did it make those policies and agreements publicly available? (Example: data-sharing policy, open data policy)

Why is this important?
Data-sharing policies and agreements serve as an important policy framework for data governance that allows state governments to take a coordinated approach to identifying and using relevant data to improve programs while implementing strong privacy protections.

Leading Example


Multiple agencies

The Washington Education Research and Data Center has a memorandum of understanding which identifies how data will be collected and shared among partners with a strong focus on protecting individual privacy. The center brings together eleven partners, including other state agencies and nonprofits, to compile education and workforce data to improve student achievement and workforce outcomes.

Promising Examples



A 2014 Connecticut executive order established the state’s Open Data Initiative. The order also established a formal open data policy, formed an open data advisory panel, created the position of chief data officer and required all agencies to designated an agency data officer.



2016 Delaware Executive Order established the Open Data Council within the Department of Technology and Information, which was expanded to all executive agencies in a 2018 Executive Order. The council includes 17 members from departments and agencies. In 2016, the council published a strategic plan, which lays out state data policies and the role of open data in improving decision making and coordination across state government, as well as a progress report. In 2017 and 2018, the state sponsored two code-a-thons to work with residents on solving community issues with data from the state’s open data portal.


Single agency

The Georgia Department of Education’s State Longitudinal Data System shares student achievement data with school districts in order to help educators “make more informed (data-driven) decisions designed to improve student learning.” The State Longitudinal Data System connects school districts’ data systems, allowing summative, state-level, high-quality data to be shared with districts, schools, teachers, parents, and students across the state.



A 2014 Maryland law requires state agencies to publish machine-readable open data. To facilitate this process, the 37-member Maryland Council on Open Data promotes the implementation of the law by providing best practices and policies for open data, data sharing, and staff coordination. The council meets on a quarterly basis and publicly publishes its agenda and minutes. The Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement assists agencies in using open data to improve performance.



A 2016 Michigan executive order created the Enterprise Information Management program, which established policies and protocols for data sharing, management, and governance. As part of these efforts, Michigan developed a statewide data-sharing agreement template to facilitate improved data sharing among agencies and departments. The executive order also requires the director of the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to designate a chief data officer to “carry out the powers, duties, functions and responsibilities of implementing the Enterprise Information Management.”


Single agency

The Texas Education Agency administers the Texas Student Data System, a statewide platform for collecting, managing, sharing, and reporting state education data. The system has a dashboard, which provides educators with timely, actionable information and metrics on student performance. The system has policies for data standards and data governance. It also provides trainings and case studies to support the adoption of best practices. Users are assigned a unique ID to protect student and educator privacy before public posting to the Texas P-20 Public Education Information Resource, the state’s longitudinal data system, which allows for sharing and reporting on trend and outcome data for students from prekindergarten through college.