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PPI Summer 2003 Meeting Notes

July 22-23, 2003
Washington, DC

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Call to Order
FERPA Overview
Student Confidentiality Task Force
Data Modeling Working Group
PBDMI
Race/Ethnicity
Title II NCLB Reporting
Election of New Chair and Vice-Chair
Special Task Order Proposals

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Coop Contract Processing
Progress Reports on 2002-03 Special Task Awards
Requests to Establish Taskforces
Other Issues or Concerns
Adjourn

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Call to Order

Committee vice-chair and acting chair Jerry Hottinger called the meeting to order. Jerry Hottinger reviewed the purpose of PPI from the policies and procedures manual. Members of the committee introduced themselves.

FERPA Overview

Ellen Campbell from the Department of Education came to speak about FERPA. FERPA applies to schools that receive funds under any program administered by the USED Secretary of Education. Ms. Campbell provided the committee with a handout of key points in FERPA and went through it. She then fielded questions relating to the laws:

  • Where in the law does it state that data can be sent to the USED and the Secretary of Education? Disclosure without consent is permitted only under certain conditions for certain purposes. Section 99.31 allows such disclosure to authorized representatives of the Secretary, subject to conditions found in Section 99.35. If states collect individual data, it is subject to re-disclosure rules; that is, states cannot redisclose this information without consent.
  • Are states allowed to collect student data as required under NCLB? Not aware of any law that trumps FERPA; specific instances should be reviewed.
  • What about consent forms for Medicaid? Social services cannot get data from LEAs, SEAs can take in social service data and run numbers and collect information on how many students are eligible, but they cannot give individual student data to other agencies without consent.
  • What about program evaluators from universities who ask the SEA to match and divulge test scores for program assessments. Is this legal under FERPA? This is not allowed under FERPA. No identifiable information can be released without consent, only aggregate data.

Department of Education contractors are allowed to receive any data that could legally be sent to the Department of Education. Grantees are not similarly eligible.

Disclosure is allowed with permission from parents, not from data guarders—the states. Disclosure is defined in the law.

Student Confidentiality Task Force

This task force first met in March 2002 and now met a second time in July 2003—the delay was caused by difficulties in contracting issues. The task force now has a contractor and is in the process of revising the document. The task force will most likely meet again before the winter Forum meeting and have a draft ready by that meeting. The document will provide easier to understand answers to questions on FERPA and other student data confidentiality issues. The document will focus on stating facts from student privacy legislation and regulations rather than interpreting them.

Data Modeling Working Group

This working group has members but has not yet met pending review of similar initiatives results (i.e., PBDMI, SIF). The working group’s purpose is to look at the vertical integration of education data from LEAs to SEAs to the federal government. The working group was formed in June 2002. A Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) task force is developing vertical reporting standards for release late this Fall. Tim Magner has left SIF to work with Microsoft. SIF now has non-profit status. PPI recommended to the Forum steering committee that the SIF organization be invited for associate membership.

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PBDMI

NESAC, PPI, and TD&C met for a joint session on PBDMI. Hugh Walkup, Barbara Clements, and Pat Sherrill reported on past, current, and future work on PBDMI. Hugh Walkup discussed the origins and purpose of PBDMI. With the increasing focus on accountability, the department needs to analyze the effectiveness of programs, but does not have the data to conduct such an analysis. PBDMI will make this possible. The vision is to improve data collection, quality and circulation/use. PBDMI will create a system for data exchange between schools, districts, states, and the federal government. USED offices will go to this system first for data rather than asking states for it again, reducing burden on schools significantly. PBDMI staff have been visiting every state, and Barbara Clements discussed the results of these visits in more depth. This year they will work on evaluating the demonstration site and on continued state visits. By the fall they should have the initial K-12 shared data repositories.

Barbara Clements discussed state site visits. The state visits were a tremendous success, and the PBDMI staff greatly appreciated the help of all involved states. The purpose of the visits was twofold—to look at the first phase of PBDMI data elements and to look at state data systems for contextual information. Barbara Clements demonstrated the PBDMI software and how it collects information on data elements (existence, plan to collect, etc.), definitions (how state data definitions differ from fed definitions), and the code set of data elements. Some highlights of the visits were:

  • All but 2 states have or are planning student record systems.
  • 25 states have unique student ID’s.
  • Huge numbers of states use Microsoft and Oracle applications.
  • All states had CCD data.
  • Some elements were extremely rare on the state level (e.g., school athletics and pregnant student counts).
  • Longitude and Latitude are rare.
  • Some other data elements were hard to locate, like the number of LEP students not tested.

Pat Sherrill discussed the future directions of PBDMI. PBDMI began by seeing what programs on the federal level needed and then visiting states to see what they can provide. Soon there will be a way to view what elements states can provide and how elements vary across states. PBDMI funds will be released to states through the National Cooperative Education Statistics System contract to help defray costs on states. PBDMI will now be developing a data model to see how program offices can share data efficiently, and by November they expect to load 2002-03 school data on some schools, districts, and states. They will evaluate the database for problems and then refine the database for federal use. Policies will also be developed on how to use these data. Phase II of the project will then begin, focusing first on an evaluation of work done in Phase I and taking into account comments from states in the site visits. PBDMI staff will assess how data can be brought in and what data elements can be dropped—this will be an iterative process.

The floor was opened for questions from Forum members.

  • Will the Consolidated Report be phased out as PBDMI gets bigger? The plan now is that by fall of 2004 they will be able to assess if programs still need to collect the data they currently do.
  • How long do states have to gather these elements? This will require a good deal of integration and more time would be good. By the end of August they hope to identify all data items and have a list ready for states. There will be a template by the end of September, and then they hope to have a longer term plan. Right now there will be increased burden and difficulty, but all for a significant long-term payoff.
  • When do states get to comment on the process? PBDMI staff will send states notes from the meetings for their further comments. They will then take state comments to program offices for review. The pilot test will not incorporate state comments, but the real version will. If states would like to participate in the review, they should e-mail Pat Sherrill at Pat.Sherrill@ed.gov
  • How will PBDMI adjust between program office information and pilot test information? This is the purpose of the pilot test; addressing data/concerns already present in states. They are moving towards a single submission. This won’t resolve USED’s internal problems, but it will help.
  • Is the ongoing Migrant Needs Assessment a part of PBDMI? This is just a needs assessment and is not part of PBDMI. Once it is clearer what data elements are needed to study migrant students, it will probably be included.
  • Why haven’t state fiscal people been included in the meetings? Financial data is not in the first collection but will be considered in phase II. USED will locate federal payments to SEAs/LEAs from internal sources.

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Race/Ethnicity

Alex Choi, Kimberly Jenkins, and Edith McArthur presented on Race/Ethnicity collection standards. No final decision has been made yet about how race/ethnicity data should be reported. Issues have been identified regarding reporting of race/ethnicity for staff consistently across federal agencies. For individual reporting, the new data collection standard is that established in 1997 by OMB, allowing individuals to report more than one race after answering a yes/no question about Hispanic ethnicity. The issue relates to how these data should be reported in aggregate form. Three options are under consideration. The first option being discussed is to report 20 categories. This would be, for students of non-Hispanic ethnicity: each of 5 single races, the 4 most common racial combinations, and the balance (all other combinations); the same 10 categories would be computed for students of Hispanic ethnicity. Another option would be to report the same ten categories, plus a general category on Hispanics of any race. A third option would be the five major races, one option for “2 or more races reported” and an option of Hispanic of any race for a total of seven categories. NCLB often requires disaggregating by race, but too many categories would eliminate many minority category counts because of N-count restrictions.

The group answered questions from committee members.

  • Where to report Indian subcontinent and Middle Eastern students? No firm definitions or boundaries defined. Generally, report Asian Indians as Asians and Middle Eastern as white.
  • Department of Defense schools have a problem with schools in Puerto Rico that report yes on Hispanic and then N/A on Race, how should this be reported? Report as Hispanic, and report observed race.
  • Should states allow an “other” category for individual reporting? No, students can report multiple races and should be able to find a place on the form.
  • The group offered to field calls from parents or others with questions on how race/ethnicity data is collected with the caveat that before being referred they be notified that the parent will be calling. Their contact information is:
    Alex Choi - (202) 205-3509
    Kimberley Jenkins - (202) 401-5982
  • States are getting pressure form other agencies to change to the new racial/ethnic categories. What should be done? Have the agency call Kimberly. USED will consider sending a letter of explanation to all other agencies.
  • Will states still be given 3 years to implement the changes? Under advisement. USED will push states to move quickly, but understand that time is necessary.
  • When a student selects more than one race, is either race considered their primary or secondary race? No, races are considered equal, neither is a first or second race.
  • If students refuse to ID their race, can LEAs use observation? Yes, must be used as needed for K-12 level students for OCR (Office of Civil Rights) reporting in particular, which requires race to be reported for all students.

Title II NCLB Reporting

Rene Islas from the Office of the Secretary came to discus the Title II NCLB reporting requirements on behalf of OESE. NCLB relies on quality data being reported. Rene explained what data would be needed according to the legislation, not details on data contents. Last year states received the consolidated application and this September they will provide all non-AYP data. This includes:

  • Percent of classes taught by Highly Qualified Teachers (including an aggregate number, high poverty number, and low poverty number)
  • Percent of teachers receiving professional development (as defined in section 9101)
  • Percent of paraprofessionals who are qualified.

Title II teams will be visiting states to discuss their data situations; these teams will include data experts. Committee members voiced concern that consistency of certification definitions and other issues will be difficult to assess across states, districts, and even schools. There will also be licensing issues, middle school teacher issues, issues with assignments versus classes for the purpose of determining whether or not teachers are highly qualified in what they teach. The HOUSSE (High Objective Uniform State Standard of Evaluation) standard is determined largely on the local level and so will not be the same between districts or states. If states want to be considered for early site visits, they should contact Rene Islas soon. Accountability for use of Title II funds only if not meeting AYP and highly qualified teachers.

Election of New Chair and Vice-Chair

The floor was opened for elections of a new chair and vice-chair. Jerry Hottinger (currently vice-chair) was nominated for the chair position by Ron Danforth. The nomination was seconded and approved unanimously. Nancy Resch was nominated for vice-chair by Dennis Powell. The nomination was seconded. Jim Haessly was nominated by Jerry Hottinger and was seconded. Jim declined the nomination and asked to be considered again next year. There was a vote and Nancy was elected vice-chair.

Special Task Order Proposals

The cooperative system will again be awarding special task orders to states interested in improving federal-state cooperation in data collection, processing, analysis and reporting. Proposals should be submitted to Ghedam Bairu. Theresa Kough from Delaware and Judy Newman from South Carolina volunteered to review proposals. LEAs cannot submit proposals. SEAs must submit proposals and are responsible for the project but can collaborate/contract with LEAs on the project.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Coop Contract Processing

Ghedam Bairu and LaShawn Pettaway reported on the National Cooperative Education Statistics System contracting process. Ghedam passed out a list of Frequently Asked Questions for states regarding the cooperative system. Section K is required for the beginning of all contract periods and so all states need to fill it out now. Not every item applies to states. The rush to get these forms done comes from PBDMI, who are hurrying to get their money available to states by November 2003. Most questions states have are answered on the FAQ sheet. There is no problem with submitting electronic invoices. However, the same invoice should not be submitted multiple times using different media (e.g., electronic, fax, and paper). Deliverables should be submitted to LaShawn and to the appropriate staff—NAEP to Sherran Osborne, PBDMI to Pat Sherrill , and basic participation or special task orders to Ghedam Bairu. Deliverables without an invoice will not be processed. The first signed contracts should go out to states in the next few weeks.

To help states notice when their payment arrives, the following changes are suggested:

  • On official state letterhead, send LaShawn a new “payment address.” This address is only 22 characters long and currently truncates the full name of the state and title of the department. Abbreviate information to 22 characters or less so that your state treasury can easily identify where the money should be credited.
  • Invoices must be numbered. If states have their own invoice systems they should feel free to number the invoices they submit according to their own system. This will make invoices paid easier to locate.

Progress Reports on 2002-03 Special Task Awards

Jerry Hottinger reported on the status of Pennsylvania’s award. This task order was a follow up to an earlier project that was a proof of concept relating to the use of SIF specifications to transfer student data between LEAs and the state. The current project involves developing SIF object codes for financial and human resources data. At the end of the project these specifications will be available for all states to use. Work is progressing according to plan with some slight delays. The state and contractor will provide a full project report at the data conference.

Karen Waugh and Michele Kays reported in the status of Kentucky’s award. This project is working on developing an enterprise data system for the state of Kentucky and focuses on issues of data quality. The project tries to address data quality for each level of the education system. The project will produce a unique student identifier this fall and by fall 2004 there should be a high quality student data system. Much success as a result of presenting it as a system that will benefit teachers and administrators. Another result is increased buy-in from lower level staff. Much work is being done on educating people on the merits of this type of system. A cross-agency data team was developed to simplify and focus data collections for all agencies. It takes one week for the department to approve or reject requests for new data collections. Work continues on making program areas more aware of what’s in the SIS and how to use it. The most difficult aspect of the project has been getting people to define their terms.

Requests to Establish Taskforces

There were no requests.

Other Issues or Concerns

There were no other issues or concerns.

Adjourn



 Meeting Notes

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Publications of the National Forum on Education Statistics do not undergo the formal review required for products of the National Center for Education Statistics. The information and opinions published here are the product of the National Forum on Education Statistics and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education or the National Center for Education Statistics.


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