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Free Publications - Best Practices

The National Forum on Education Statistics develops free resources on a variety of issues that affect schools, school districts, and state education agencies. Each publication is based on extensive, objective research and the collective experience and expertise of a wide variety of education professionals. Past publications are reviewed and updated periodically to keep up with changes in a dynamic educational system.

Best Practices

Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A Local Education Agency Perspective   Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A Local Education Agency Perspective
This publication recommends a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted and adapted by LEAs as they consider how to respond to requests for both new and existing data about the education enterprise.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to the Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Resource   Forum Guide to the Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Resource
This guide introduces the teacher-student data link (TSDL) and provides information on TSDL components, use cases, and strategies for overcoming implementation challenges.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data   Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data
This Guide provides practical information about the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to identify, access, interpret, and use data to improve instruction in classrooms and the operation of schools, local education agencies, and state education agencies.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective (2012)   Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective (2012)
This Guide recommends a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted and adapted by state education agencies as they consider how to respond to requests for data about the education enterprise, including data maintained in longitudinal data systems.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Facilities Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies (2012)   Forum Guide to Facilities Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies (2012)
This Guide provides a framework for collecting, evaluating, and maintaining education facilities data. It includes best practices for the design, development, implementation, and use of facilities management information systems, along with a list of standard data elements.     
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Ensuring Equal Access to Education Websites (2011)   Forum Guide to Ensuring Equal Access to Education Websites (2011)
This resource guides education institutions in improving the accessibility of websites and other electronic information technology, and in complying with accessibility standards and laws.     
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Cover image thumbnail of the Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems,  Book IV: Advanced LDS Usage (2011)   Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book IV: Advanced LDS Usage (2011)
This document, the final installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), addresses issues important to the effective use of longitudinal data.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline  Incident Data   Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data
The Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data focuses on the use of crime, violence, and discipline data to improve school safety. 
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Cover image thumbnail of the Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to  Longitudinal Data Systems, Book III: Effectively Managing LDS Data (2011)      Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book III: Effectively Managing LDS Data (2011)
This document, the third installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), addresses the management of data.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to   Longitudinal Data Systems, Book II: Planning and Developing an LDS (2011)   Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book II: Planning and Developing an LDS (2011)
This document, the second installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), discusses the critical planning and development phases of an LDS project.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to   Longitudinal Data Systems, Book I: What is an LDS? (2010)    Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book I: What is an LDS? (2010)
By facilitating the collection and use of detailed, high quality student- and staff-level data linked over time, longitudinal data systems (LDSs) hold promise for enhancing both the way education agencies use data to serve students and the way they do business, from the policy level to the school office and into the classroom.
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Cover image thumbnail of the The Forum Guide to Data Ethics (2010)   The Forum Guide to Data Ethics (2010)
Each and every day, educators collect and use data about students, staff, and schools. Some of these data originate in individual student and staff records that are confidential or otherwise sensitive.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to   Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students (2010)    Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students (2010)
This document provides guidelines that can be used by elementary and secondary education agencies to establish policies and procedures for collecting and managing education data before, during, and after a crisis.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Metadata: The Meaning Behind   Education Data (2009)   Forum Guide to Metadata: The Meaning Behind Education Data (2009)
This document offers best practice concepts, definitions, implementation strategies, and templates/tools for an audience of data, technology, and program staff in state and local education agencies.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to   Collecting and Using Attendance Data (2009)   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.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories (2008)   Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories (2008)
This best-practice guide is developed to assist state and local education agencies in their implementation of the new federal race and ethnicity categories—thereby reducing redundant efforts within and across states, improving data comparability, and minimizing reporting burden.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements (2007)   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).
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A   Resource for Local Education Agencies (2007)   Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A Resource for Local Education Agencies (2007)
This curriculum supports efforts to improve the quality of education data by serving as training materials for K-12 school and district staff.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Decision Support Systems: A   Resource for Educators (2006)   Forum Guide to Decision Support Systems: A Resource for Educators (2006)
This document was developed to remedy the lack of reliable, objective information available to the education community about decision support systems.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Elementary/Secondary Virtual   Education (2006)   Forum Guide to Elementary/Secondary Virtual Education (2006)
This guide provides recommendations for collecting accurate, comparable, and useful data about virtual education in an elementary/secondary education setting.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information:   A Resource for Schools (2006)   Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information: A Resource for Schools (2006)
This guide helps school and local education agency staff to better understand and apply FERPA, a federal law that protects privacy interests of parents and students in student education records.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes (2006)   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.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Education Indicators (2005)   Forum Guide to Education Indicators (2005)
The Forum Guide to Education Indicators provides encyclopedia-type entries for 44 commonly used education indicators. Each indicator entry contains a definition, recommended uses, usage caveats and cautions, related policy questions, data element components, a formula, commonly reported subgroups, and display suggestions.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Unified Education Technology Suite (2005)   Forum Unified Education Technology Suite (2005)
The Forum Unified Education Technology Suite presents a practical, comprehensive, and tested approach to assessing, acquiring, instituting, managing, securing, and using technology in education settings.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource (2005)   Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource (2005)
There has been a growing awareness that effective teaching, efficient schools, and quality data are linked. A "Culture of Quality Data" is the belief that good data are an integral part of teaching, learning and managing the school enterprise.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies (2004)   Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies (2004)
This Guide presents a general overview of privacy laws and professional practices that apply to information collected for, and maintained in, student records.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Facilities Information Management: A Guide for State and Local Education Agencies (2003)      Facilities Information Management: A Guide for State and Local Education Agencies (2003)
This Guide provides a framework for identifying a basic set of school facilities data elements and definitions that will meet the information needs of school and community decision makers, school facility managers, and the general public.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities (2003)   Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities (2003)
This Guide was prepared by members of the National Forum on Education Statistics to help school facilities managers plan for efficient and effective operations.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Safety in Numbers: Collecting and Using Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data to Make a Difference in Schools (2002)   Safety in Numbers: Collecting and Using Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data to Make a Difference in Schools (2002)
This document is designed for use by school, district, and state staff to improve the effectiveness of their efforts to collect and use disciplinary incident data.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records (2000)   Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records (2000)
This report discusses key concepts in protecting and managing information in staff records. It does not provide legal guidelines, but does address the federal Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts and offers principles of best practice.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Building an Automated Student Record System (2000)   Building an Automated Student Record System (2000)
This document was developed as a stand-alone resource for local and state education agencies faced with the task of designing a new, or upgrading an existing, automated student information system.
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Cover image thumbnail of the Standards for Education Data Collection and Reporting (SEDCAR) (1991)   Standards for Education Data Collection and Reporting (SEDCAR) (1991)
This document describes education data collection and reporting standards through the combined efforts of data providers, producers, and users at the local, state, and federal levels.
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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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