As a new Forum member, what do I need to know?
If you are a local education agency (LEA) representative
If you are a state education agency (SEA) representative
If you are a national association representative
(Before getting too far into Forum matters, visit the
list of Commonly Used Forum Acronyms)
Welcome to the National Forum on Education Statistics!
As a new member of the National Forum on Education Statistics, you are in a position to contribute to the work of an organization that is committed to improving the quality of education data throughout the nation while, at the same time, minimizing data burden on schools, local education agencies, and state education agencies. Accomplishing this task is hard work, as is producing the Forum's free data guides and best practice documents.
Forum members bring expertise and enthusiasm to the organization's work, but before doing so, it sometimes takes new members some time to become acclimated to the way the Forum operates. The Forum Steering Committee hopes that this New Members' Page will help to prepare you for the experience of joining the Forum. It will still take some time to get to know the organization's people and culture, but hopefully some of the procedural questions that often arise can be addressed here so that your first meeting will be more enjoyable and productive.
The Forum Steering Committee
P.S. The best way to get involved with the Forum is to do exactly that—get involved. Join a task force, roll up your sleeves, and get to know the people and processes that make up the National Forum on Education Statistics!
Forum Organizational Hierarchy
|National Cooperative Education Statistics System|
|National Forum on Education Statistics|
|Forum Steering Committee|
|Forum Standing Committees||National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC)|
|Policies, Programs, and Implementation Committee (PPI)|
|Technology Committee (TECH)|
|Current Forum Task Forces and Working Groups|
|Alternative SES Measures Working Group|
|LEA Data Access Working Group|
|SCED Working Group|
|Teacher-Student Data Link|
Mandated by the Hawkins-Stafford Education Improvement Amendments of 1988 (Public Law 100-297), the National Cooperative Education Statistics System (Cooperative System) was established to produce and maintain, with the cooperation of the States, comparable and uniform educational information and data that are useful for policy making at the federal, state, and local levels. To assist in meeting this goal, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) established the National Forum on Education Statistics to improve the collection, reporting, and use of elementary and secondary education statistics. In addition to the National Forum on Education Statistics (for elementary and secondary education), there are two other National Cooperative Education Statistics System entities: the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC), which addresses the needs of postsecondary education, and the Library Statistics Program, which collects, processes, and disseminates data on academic libraries, public libraries, school library media centers, and state library agencies.
The Forum was established by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education in 1989 to create a voluntary, democratic, and participatory federal-state group that identifies education data needs at the national, state, and local levels. In 1996, Forum membership was extended to incorporate local education agency perspectives as well.
The major purposes of the Forum are to:
More succinctly, the Forum was created to improve the quality, comparability, and utility of elementary and secondary education data.
For more information about the Forum's purpose and history, visit About the Forum.
The Forum Steering Committee oversees and coordinates all Forum activities. Members of the Steering Committee include the Forum chair, vice chair, and immediate past chair, and the chairs, vice chairs, and NCES liaisons for the three standing committees. The chairperson of the Forum leads the Steering Committee. The Commissioner of the NCES is a member ex officio.
National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC)
The National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) addresses ways to improve the quality of education data to fulfill the Cooperative System's legislative mandate to improve the quality of data for education policy making at all levels of government. The committee has as its mission the development of a national education statistics agenda, that is, the identification of issues and policy concerns bearing on the development of comparable and effective nationwide elementary and secondary education data collection, reporting, and use, focusing on the major areas of student, staff, fiscal, institutional, and other information that yields valuable perspective on education in the United States.
Policies, Programs, and Implementation Committee (PPI)
The Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) Committee deliberates on the major functions and general effectiveness of the Cooperative System. Specifically, PPI focuses on addressing ways to assist SEAs and school districts in improving their ability to collect and report comparable, accurate, and timely data, and enhancing coordination among federal agencies, and between federal and state agencies. In addition, PPI addresses ways to reduce paperwork burdens at all levels of government, and to explore ongoing and emerging issues such as data sharing and confidentiality of education records. PPI is also responsible for recommending amendments to the Policy and Procedures Manual and reviewing and recommending the formation of new task forces.
Technology Committee (TECH)
The Technology Committee (TECH) is concerned with new and proven technology strategies to improve the exchange of student and staff information and the technical infrastructure that supports this exchange. It promotes the development and adoption of standards for electronic data exchange, and sponsors pilot and developmental projects in the exchange of data about students and education staff, as well as examining the impact of new technologies on information exchange. The committee produces "best practices" guides to help schools, school districts and state education agencies make good decisions about selecting hardware, software, and networking services for information management and dealing with issues such as data security, data quality, and the integration of information systems to support effective decision making.
Alternative SES Measures Working Group
The potential loss of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s student-level National School Lunch Program (NSLP)-eligibility indicator is an important issue to state and local education agencies. The Alternative SES Measures Working Group is tasked with identifying alternative measures of SES that meet the needs of the education community.
LEA Data Access Working Group
The LEA Data Access Working Group is developing a guide to help LEAs establish a process for responding to and managing requests from researchers. The guide will address supporting requests for data that have not been previously collected within the LEA (new data) and requests for previously collected data that reside in the LEA’s data systems (existing data). The content on requests for existing data is adapted from the Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective.For more information, visit the LEA Data Access for Researchers Working Group page.
SCED Working Group
The Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group is revising the 2007 SCED document to ensure that it is comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate. The updated document will be available as an online Forum resource. For more information, visit the SCED Working Group page.
Teacher-Student Data Link
The Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group is developing a resource to support implementation of the teacher-student data link by LEA and SEA staff. A considerable amount of work has been done and is currently underway related to the teacher-student data link, most notably through the Teacher-Student Data Link (TSDL) Project and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC). This group will develop a new resource, informed by prior work, that focuses on overcoming implementation challenges, particularly at the local level. For more information, visit the Teacher-Student Data Link page.
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.