Upcoming Virtual Data Conferences for 2021

Jeremias Solari, Assistant Director / Chief of Research
July 28, 2021

Note taking at a conference
Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

Do some of you remember conferences? We here at the UDRC have almost forgotten. In the last 18 months, we have seen a severe decrease of conferences in general and an absolute stoppage to in-person conferences--for obvious and serious reasons.

Conferences can be useful and of value as they allow UDRC the chance to discuss with peers about the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDSs) and the gamut of topics that are unique to our business. Topics such as matching algorithms, data governance, privacy, security, and research, amongst others, help us learn best practices to improve our operations.

For example, a practice that UDRC learned from a past conference was the merit of using histograms for presenting wage distributions. Previously, our go-to metric was the median when discussing wages. However, at a presentation, we noticed a panel using histograms to give the audience a full, succinct picture of the wage distribution. We thought this was brilliant and started to adopt it in our wage metrics for its great explanatory value.

Alternatively, we have presented our branding and marketing strategies, which attracted further conversations and discussions with peer SLDSs. Our most recent chance to exchange knowledge was a webinar focused on using synthetic datasets, which we will be discussing in more depth with a peer entity that requested a one-on-one training session. These opportunities are very fulfilling to us as an organization.

Having discussed the value of conferences and the knowledge we have gained and shared with them, we would like to inform you, our reader, of two outstanding conferences you can virtually attend:

2021 NCES STATS-DC Data Conference
"All Data on Deck! Using Data to Improve Education Through the Pandemic": The STATS-DC conference will be held between August 16 - 20, 2021. The website has far more information on the conference. However, if we were to summarize STATS-DC, it focuses on data collection and reporting and using these data for business decisions. This conference is open to the public, so register now!
Statewide Longitudinal Data System Best Practices Conference
This conference is upcoming, and dates for the 2021 conference have not yet been made available. The last conference was in 2019, and the 2020 conference was canceled due to the pandemic. This conference focuses on SLDSs sharing best practices on a very broad range of topics.

UDRC will be presenting at STATS DC this August, and we would appreciate any attendance from our readers. If you are in the P20W (preschool to workforce pipeline) world, these two conferences are of value and recommended. We hope to see you there!