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Content and Definitions

These resources contribute to standard, comparable, multi-use education information when they are used in developing data dictionaries, collection instruments, and reports.

Common Education Data Standards

  • Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)
    The Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project is a national collaborative effort to develop voluntary, common data standards for a key set of education data elements to streamline the exchange and comparison of data across institutions and sectors. The CEDS "standards" are comprised of several pieces of information that provide context for and describe data items within CEDS such as the domain, entity, element, option set, related use cases, alternative names, and other notes. The website allows viewing and interacting with CEDS by element, relationship, or comparison.

School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED)

  • School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED)
    The School Codes for the Exchange of Data is a voluntary, common classification system for prior-to-secondary and secondary school courses. It includes elements and attributes that identify basic course information. This work includes the codes themselves as well as additional elements that provide context for the courses and a best practice guide for using the codes.

Handbooks Online

  • NCES Handbooks Online
    This searchable database includes P-12 education data elements in the areas of student, staff, and institutional data, and is linked to NCES's Financial Accounting for State and Local School Systems. It is updated annually and identifies elements used to meet EDFacts reporting requirements.
  • Handbooks Online State Customization Tool
    This password-protected site allows authorized State education agency staff the ability to customize data elements to meet their unique needs while retaining the basic structure and organization of Handbooks Online.


  • Attendance Codes
    Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data (2009)
    This Forum guide offers best practice suggestions on collecting and using student attendance data to improve performance. It includes a standard set of codes to make attendance data comparable across districts and states. The product also presents real-life examples of how attendance information has been used by school districts.
  • Exit Codes
    Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes (2006)
    This "best practice" guide presents an exhaustive and mutually exclusive exit code taxonomy that accounts, at any single point in time, for all students enrolled (or previously enrolled) in a particular school or district. It is based on exit code systems in use in state education agencies across the nation and a thorough review of existing literature on the subject.
  • Crime & Violence
    Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data
    This guide focuses on the use of crime, violence, and discipline data to improve school safety. It presents strategies for implementing an incident database, including system design, management, and training; recommends a body of data elements, definitions, and code lists useful for collecting accurate and comparable data about crime, violence, and discipline; and offers suggestions for the effective presentation and reporting of data. This guide was created in collaboration with the Discipline Data Working Group of the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that it will be useful to states and districts reporting data to the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and EDFacts.
  • Facilities
    Forum Guide to Facilities Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies
    This guide is intended to provide a framework for collecting, evaluating, and maintaining education facilities data. It is written to help staff in state and local education agencies, and in public charter schools, design school facility information systems that support policy- and decisionmaking; management and operation; capital budgeting and project management; public participation in school facilities planning; and the integration of facilities data into other education and municipal data sets. It includes best practices for the design, development, implementation, and use of facilities management information systems, along with a list of standard data elements.
  • Finance Data
    Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements (2007)
    This document provides an overview of key finance data terms. It also covers the 2 NCES public school finance surveys: the state-level National Public Education Financial Survey and the School District Finance Survey (or F-33). Differences and similarities between the two surveys are described. Chapter 3 contains definitions for key finance data elements. Chapter 4 contains a listing and definitions of key finance indicators and economic adjustment indexes.


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