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SLEDS Tracing Pathways Dashboard

Minnesota Students’ Pathways to a Family-Sustaining Hourly Wage

Using data from the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS), this dashboard can be used to explore:

  1. The educational pathways that Minnesota students take; and
  2. Whether or not those educational pathways lead Minnesota students to earn a Family Sustaining Hourly Wage (FSHW) 10 years after entering 9th grade.

Earning a FSHW is an important indicator of an individual’s economic well-being and is closely linked to education and workforce training.

Detailed information such as the count of students in each category is available by hovering over the pathways displayed on the dashboard. In addition, values sometimes do not appear on the bars on the right hand side due to space constraints. When values do not appear, hover over the bar to view the value.

See the tables below for full details on all variables. The first three tabs present information on FSHW whether the student was a person of color, whether they completed any postsecondary education, and whether they were proficient on MCA 2 Grade 11 Math for students who entered high school in 2008.

Select new variables (on the "Custom" tab) to explore other differences between groups on the way to employment outcomes! Try comparing demographic subgroups, observing the role of high school and postsecondary milestones, and viewing the resulting employment outcomes by selecting variables from the dropdown menus. Filter by the region of Minnesota where the student attended high school, the student’s year entering 9th grade, and whether the student attended a postsecondary institution in Minnesota.

Tableau User Guide

Dashboard created by Ethan C. Brown, Ph.D., and Mohammed A. A. Abulela, Ph.D., for the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. For more information, contact Alyssa Parr at

Methodological Considerations

Some individuals will be excluded in certain analyses, as determined by different configurations of variables selected from the dropdown menus, because certain variables are not defined for all individuals. For example, not all individuals had valid geographic information, so those individuals are excluded from any geographic comparison.
Cell size, data confidentiality and data suppression:

  • CTSTR stands for Cell size Too Small To Report, which is used in order to maintain confidentiality; thus, the data related to these cells are suppressed.
  • CTSTR appears when the number of cases or individuals in a particular pathway is less than 25 individuals.
  • Counts and percentages that are based on data from suppressed cells will be shown along with an * which indicates that counts/percentages are approximate due to data suppression and should be interpreted with less confidence.

Definitions of Pathway Variables

Demographic Subgroups

  • Gender – An individual’s gender as reported by their K-12 institution in 2004–05: female or male.
  • Race/Ethnicity – An individual’s race/ethnicity as reported by their K-12 institution in 2004–05: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Black, Hispanic (which may include individuals who also identify as Black or White), and White.
  • Ever Limited English Proficiency (LEP) – Whether an individual was ever identified for English language support services during K-12.
  • Person of Color (POC) – Whether an individual’s race/ethnicity was white (Non-POC) or a person of color (POC).
  • Ever Special Education (SPED) – Whether an individual was ever identified as a special education (SPED) student during K-12.
  • Ever Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (Ever FRPL) – Whether an individual was ever eligible for free or reduced-price lunch during K-12.

High School Milestones

  • Reading Proficiency – Whether an individual reached the criteria for proficiency on the MCA-II Grade 10 Reading Exam.
  • Math Proficiency – Whether an individual reached the criteria for proficiency on the MCA-II Grade 11 Math Exam.
  • High School Graduation – An individual’s graduation status: Diploma ≤ 4 years, Diploma > 4 years, GED, or no high school equivalency by 6/30/2018.

Postsecondary Milestones

  • Developmental Course-Taking – Whether an individual was required to take developmental courses/units in the first fall term of their postsecondary program. Courses designated as “developmental” indicate that the postsecondary institution considers the course/unit to be below the postsecondary level and thus the postsecondary institution awards no credit that can be applied to a certificate or degree. These data are only available for individuals whose enrollment for their first fall term was at a postsecondary institution located in Minnesota.
  • Postsecondary Completion – Whether an individual earned a postsecondary certificate or degree by 11/02/2018.

Employment Outcome

  • Family-sustaining hourly wage (FSHW) – An indicator of whether an individual earned a wage that is needed to cover the cost of living of a typical Minnesota family 10 years after entering grade 9. Here, a typical family is defined as a 3-person family, with 2 adults working a combined 60 hours per week (averaging 30 hours per worker per week; DEED, 2018a). To capture regional variability in the cost of living, we used DEED (2018b) estimates of FSHW by the area of the state. Although SLEDS does not contain details on family structure or partnership, the FSHW provides a common benchmark for the adequacy of wages. Based on these data, we created three categories for individuals specific to their wage data:
  • Earning a FSHW – individuals who had employment records in the 10th year after high school entry and were earning a FSHW or higher.
  • Not Earning a FSHW – individuals who had employment records in the 10th year after high school entry and were earning below a FSHW.
  • Unknown – individuals in the cohort for whom we did not have wage data. This includes not only individuals in the cohort who were unemployed and those who were not participating in the labor force, but also any individual in the cohort whose employer is not required to report unemployment insurance data to the state of Minnesota (e.g., military personnel, self-employed workers, farmers, federal employees, people employed outside Minnesota, and others).

This definition of a FSHW should be understood as a best approximation for whether an individual is earning a living wage. There are, of course, potential scenarios where our family-level designation of “Earning a FSHW” or “Not Earning a FSHW” may not necessarily be true for individuals.

Definitions of "Filter By" Variables

  • Region of High School – The area of the state where each individual’s K-12 institution is located.
  • HS Entry Year – The year in which individuals began high school.
  • Attended MN Postsecondary Institution – Whether an individual attended a postsecondary institution in Minnesota. The default is set at "(All)" which includes individuals who did and who did not attend a postsecondary institution in Minnesota. Select "Yes" to only include individuals who did attend a postsecondary institution in Minnesota.


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). (2018a). Cost of living in Minnesota: Methodology. Retrieved from:
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). (2018b). Cost of living in Minnesota. Retrieved from: