ForwARd believes that access to quality, integrated longitudinal data to track outcomes between pre-K, K-12, postsecondary education/training and workforce participation is essential to inform future planning and resource allocation. To that end, ForwARd aspires to create a collaborative environment that fosters world-class academic research capabilities alongside capacity for data-sharing within state government across Arkansas for use as:

  1. A tool for continuous improvement in our classrooms and schools.
  2. A response to the “Every Student Succeeds Act” and its demands for evidence-based practice.
  3. A strategy to ensure equity and opportunity for all our children from birth to career.
  4. A resource to inform public policy and identify best practices.

Maintaining and improving Arkansas’s innovation and economic competitiveness requires a robust, transparent, secure, research data system spanning the continuum from cradle to postsecondary education and employment.


In September 2018, ForwARd led a Data Symposium that brought together stakeholders in education and workforce development to lay the groundwork for expedited development of a longitudinal data system in Arkansas modeled after data consortiums in other states, such as the Virginia Longitudinal Data System. This included discussions around the creation of a comprehensive statewide Data Consortium that could power research, policy, practice and decision-making in educational, workforce and economic development.