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Summer Forum 2007 Meeting Notes

National Forum on Education Statistics
July 23-25, 2007
Washington, DC

Contents

Opening General Session
Joint Session: EDFacts/Office of Civil Rights Survey
Joint Session: Teacher/Staff Compensation Update
Closing Session
National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) Meeting Summary
Policies, Programs and Implementation (PPI) Meeting Summary
Technology Committee (TECH) Meeting Summary
Steering Committee Meeting Summary


Opening Session

Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome and Opening Comments

Forum Chair Derrick Lindsay (Mississippi Department of Education) welcomed the Forum members to the 2007 summer meeting in Washington, DC. Derrick reviewed the meeting agenda and welcomed 16 new members to the Forum.

NCES Update

Mark Schneider, Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), updated Forum members on recent business and coming plans at NCES and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

  • Commissioner Schneider began his remarks by recognizing how productive the Forum has been over the past few years, including the recent publication of the Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements; and the Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A Resource for Local Education Agencies.
  • The Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grant program run by IES awarded 13 new grants bringing the total number of grantee states to 27.
    • The new fiscal year 2007 state grantees include: Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia. They join the fiscal year 2006 states: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
    • IES is hoping to award small state cooperative planning grants (around $50,000 each) to help states that have not received an SLDS grant plan their SLDS systems and proposals.
  • The EDEN/CCD merger is progressing—45 states have recorded their 2006–2007 directory information through the EDEN submission system and 38 states were able to report their graduation/dropout rates through EDEN.
  • NCES reported on several assessment related items. NAEP, the Nations Report Card, is releasing the 12th grade economics report card on August 8, 2007. The 1st and 4th grade and math report cards will be released in early fall 2007.
  • NCES is conducting a high school longitudinal study that will seek to use longitudinal survey and administrative data to answer questions about high school students. NCES will conduct a similar study with early childhood education data in 2010.
  • The NCES teacher/staff compensation survey is underway using data from nine volunteer states. Frank Johnson (NCES) will address the Forum during Tuesday afternoon's joint session to update members on the survey.

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Panel: Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX)

Jennifer Dozier (U.S. Department of Education), Derick Masengale (Deloitte & Touche), and Jeff Stowe (Arizona Department of Education) presented the new Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX). This system will serve as a national data repository that will collect information on migrant students from SEA migrant data collections.

  • MSIX will link existing state databases to share information on migrant students. Currently, the data are exchanged through fax or regular mail. MSIX will fill the need for a coherent national system.
  • The goals of the MSIX system are: to create an electronic system to track and exchange information on migrant students; to promote the use of the new system; and to produce accurate data on the migrant student population.
  • MSIX is a web-based portal that will link data from states and districts to produce one record per student. The system does not seek to replace existing systems, but to supplement them.
  • The pilot has been phased-in starting with Arizona, Arkansas and Texas in March of 2007. Phase 2 includes California, Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington in June 2007 and will included additional functionality.
  • The national roll-out will be in September 2007.

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Joint Session: EDFacts/Office of Civil Rights Survey

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tonya Johnson-Fitzpatrick (USED, Office for Civil Rights), Ross Santy (USED, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development), Rebecca Fitch (USED, Office for Civil Rights), Clare Banwart (USED, Office for Civil Rights), and Nancy Walker (West Virginia Department of Education) discussed the Office for Civil Rights' Survey and progress made toward an annual collection of the OCR through the EDEN Submission System.

  • The 2006 OCR Survey was collected from local school districts in record time and a record percentage of respondents, and every school district in the sample had responded by July 2, 2007.
  • The OCR data collection tracks national civil rights trends and enforcement activities, and identifies possible sites for compliance reviews. The data are also used by multiple other offices and agencies, including Charter Schools, the Office of Safe and Drug Free schools, the Department of Justice, Congress, and researchers.
  • The Office for Civil Rights has the same goal as EDFacts: to use one system for all data collections.
  • West Virginia was able to assist districts in submitting the OCR data due to their centralized state reporting system. Most states will need to develop a data submission standard to comply with an annual, universal OCR Survey.
  • The transition plan for the survey to be collected through the EDEN Submission System will run through 2010–2011.

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Joint Session: Teacher/Staff Compensation Update

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Frank Johnson (NCES) updated the Forum on the teacher/staff compensation survey, an issue first presented to the Forum at the Winter 2007 Meeting.

  • NCES continues to receive requests for better and more useful data about teachers. Existing salary data are not comparable and are only available at the state level.
  • The data items being collected will include: a unique teacher ID (specific to the compensation survey that Census will crosswalk with the state assigned ID); NCES agency and school ID; school name; state school ID; school year (year of data); base pay of teacher; total pay teacher receives; retirement, health, all other, and total benefit data; employment indicators (e.g., the number of days in contract, FTE at school, status, salary indicator, new teacher indicator, etc); and demographic data (e.g., highest degree earned, years of experience, year of birth, race, gender, etc).
  • Once the survey is complete, NCES will release a short summary report, provide a restricted use data-file to researchers, and provide the submitting states with a data file.
  • The 2008 survey will attempt to collect information from all states, although it is understood that not all states will be able to share all data elements.

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Closing Session

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

USDA Update on Free and reduced Price Meal Data

John Endahl (U.S. Department of Agriculture) updated Forum members on the collection and use of Free and Reduced Price Meal data.

  • Free and reduced price meal data are often used to direct education dollars to low-income student populations, often through programs such as Title I allocations to individual schools, E-Rate discounts, state at-risk program allocations to school districts, and individual benefits to parents.
  • Certification of the free and reduced price meal data is done through either a household application (self reported income) or a direct certification (e.g., when a family is using food stamps, no application is required).
    • An income applicant must provide the social security number of the signing adult, the current income, the frequency and source of that income, the number of members in the household, and the signature of an adult member of the household.
    • A categorical income requires a name, case number, signature of an adult household member.
  • Verification of a sample of applications is required by law, excluding household applicants. Data matching is used for verification.
  • The certification process is changing to allow for year-round eligibility and mandatory direct certification of food stamp households. Further improvements are needed to amend the certification and application process.
  • For more information visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/fns/.

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Standing Committee Progress Reports

The standing committee chairs summarized their meetings throughout the week (see NESAC, PPI, and TECH meeting notes).

Task Force/Working Group Progress Reports

Data Quality Curriculum

PK-12 Data Model Task Force

  • The task force designed the first draft of the data model, which is available in ontology (XML) and taxonomy (OWL) views.
  • The task force will begin soliciting feedback on the first draft of the data model shortly.

Metadata Task Force

  • The task force has developed a first complete draft of the metadata document.
  • The task force will have one more meeting before the next Forum and will begin the formal draft review process this fall.
  • The final document should be published by the Winter 2008 Forum Meeting.

Race Ethnicity Working Group

  • The working group has been approved to become a task force.
  • The task force will produce an implementation guide for incorporating the new federal race/ethnicity categories—with a focus on the needs of schools, states, the federal government, and vendors.
  • The task force includes a mix of SEA and LEA representatives and will fast track their work so that a useful product is available to SEAs and LEAs as soon as possible (perhaps even by the end of the calendar year).

Truancy Working Group

  • It has become clear that defining the concept of truancy nationally would be a daunting task. Thus, this working group will develop a comprehensive list of attendance codes for use nationally.
  • The new attendance working group will meet in the fall after research has been completed on attendance related terms and codes.

Recognition of Completed Projects

Data Quality Curriculum Task Force

  • The Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A Resource for Local Education Agencies

    Members of the task force included: Bruce Dacey, Delaware Department of Education; Ronald Danforth, New York State Education Department; Mary Gervase, Blaine County School District (ID); Kenneth Gu, Rhode Island Department of Education; Roy Herrold, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (PA); Kathleen Hummel, Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (PA); John Kennedy, Maine Department of Education; John Metcalfe, Fremont County School District # 1 (WY); Judy Newman, Sumter County School District Two (SC); Ross Santy, US Department of Education; Lee Tack, Iowa Department of Education; Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH); Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education; and Ghedam Bairu (Project Officer), National Center for Education Statistics.

Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements

  • The Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements

    Members of the task force included: Linda Champion, Florida Department of Education; James (Chris) Christman, Pittsburg State University, Kansas; Matthew Cohen, Ohio Department of Education; Garnet Lavan Dukes, Florida Department of Education; Dori Nielson, Education Consultant, Missoula, Montana; Catherine Sielke, University of Georgia; Steven D. Honegger, American Institutes for Research; and Frank Johnson (Project Officer), National Center for Education Statistics.

Forum Election

New Forum officers were nominated and unanimously elected for 2007-2008.


Forum Chair: Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
Forum Vice Chair: Bruce Dacey, Delaware Department of Education
Past Chair: Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education
NESAC Chair: Linda Rocks, Bossier Parish Schools (LA)
NESAC Vice Chair:     Helene Bettencourt, Massachusetts Dept. of Education
PPI Chair: Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education
PPI Vice Chair: James Haessly, School District of Waukesha (WI)
TECH Chair: Kathy Gosa, Kansas State Department of Education
TECH Vice Chair: Steve Smith, Waterville Public Schools (ME)

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National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC)
Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome and Agenda Overview

Committee Chair Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) called the meeting to order and reviewed the agenda. New Forum members introduced themselves to the committee, and the current roster was circulated through the committee for review and updates.

Opening Session Discussion

The committee discussed the Forum Opening Session, including Mark Schneider's presentation concerning the recent business and coming plans for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). NESAC members commented on the various artificial barriers to postsecondary/SEA communication that hinder the construction of larger longitudinal data systems.

Teacher/Student Data—Connecting at State Level, Special Task Order Report

Anne Brinson (Indiana Department of Education) updated the Committee on Indiana's efforts to connect teacher and student data. She also gave a report on Indiana's Special Task Order for data dictionary development (FY2007).

  • Indiana discovered that the survey vehicle can be used on other topics in addition to exploring the connections between teacher and student data.
  • Survey results can/should be posted on the Data Quality Campaign website for further review.
  • The survey will be used to solicit additional comments in the future.

DQC Update (10 Essential Elements)

Nancy Smith (Data Quality Campaign) discussed the 10 essential elements critical to a state longitudinal data system, and updated the committee on recent activities of the Data Quality Campaign. Currently, Florida is the only state that satisfies all 10 elements.

  • The Dell Foundation has funded some DQC research, including a paper about FERPA that aims to:
    • suggest ways to update FERPA regulations that will work better with longitudinal data systems (LDS);
    • provide guidance about writing legislation that will clarify the rules of FERPA; and
    • suggest ways to work with state lawmakers to ensure that FERPA supports longitudinal data systems (LDS).
  • DQC continues to hold quarterly meetings and is hoping to add several regional meetings on a variety of topics related to data quality and longitudinal data efforts.

Follow-Up Discussion: Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX)

Sonya Edwards moderated a question and answer session between Jennifer Dozier (U.S. Department of Education), Derick Masengale (Deloitte & Touche Consulting), and NESAC Committee members. It provided members an opportunity to ask questions about the MSIX project and the recent pilot testing.

  • The public comment period for MSIX minimum data elements is available in the Federal Register.
  • Workload concerns:
    • Any issues associated with workload cannot be addressed until full data sets are received from states. Student matching in existing states have identified a 3 percent matching expectation, which is anticipated to be higher when all states submit their data. The submission and verification process will continue to be fine-tuned over time.
    • Not every district is using an electronic system to track migrant students and, in fact, many districts still use a paper tracking system.
    • MSIX will be capable of accessing migrant student information using the NCES school ID.
    • Some states will have to customize the interface to make it work with their existing system.
  • A "complete set of data" means data on every eligible student, including demographics, student names, parent names, school name, assessment, immunization, course history, etc.
  • USED will fund Deloitte & Touche to assist states as they establish their MSIX system. This will only include the initial set up and interface with the MSIX system.
  • When "near matches" occur in the MSIX system, the SEA has the responsibility to determine who can clarify the match. This matching does not have to be done solely at the state level; LEAs can participate as well. Responsibility for asserting a match is left to the State Migrant Director, who may share that burden as they see fit. MSIX is working to make the algorithm as tight as possible to ensure that there are as few "near matches" as possible, but some human interaction in the matching system is likely.
  • MSIX staff will deal directly with the State Migrant Director in each state. Chief State School Officers received a letter about the project about 6 or 8 months ago, asking them to designate someone to be the MSIX program coordinator.
  • Student records need to be updated at the end of each semester and year. If a new student appears in a new school, then the LEA and SEA will have four days to update the record to show that this student is enrolled.
  • Unique IDs will be supported in MSIX.

NESAC Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Morning Session)

EdFacts/Office of Civil Rights Survey

EdFacts/Office of Civil Rights Survey Follow-Up

Sonya Edwards moderated a question and answer period between Ross Santy (USED, Performance Information Management Service), Clare Banwart, (USED, Performance Information Management Service), Rebecca Fitch (USED, Office for Civil Rights), Nancy Walker (West Virginia Department of Education), and Committee members. This discussion focused on the plan to include the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) in the EdFacts EDEN data submission system.

  • The Committee was shown the informal Forum survey about OCR data collection. There were 11 respondents from SEAs and 6 respondents from LEAs.
  • OCR needs to consider the burden on local schools because not every school regularly collects the required data and only a small sample of schools are regularly selected for an audit.
  • It might be helpful to create an online form for districts that are selected.
  • Requiring that all schools collect this new data set will require vendors to change their systems. For example, many school data systems do not include the number of boys and girls who participate in sports.
  • If OCR data are integrated into EDFacts, then the data will be collected annually for all LEAs.
  • The time/effort analysis of the burden of this new data collection for states is out for comment on the Federal Register. NESAC members felt that the Forum needs to start a conversation about how much effort this will really take, and possibly create a working group to provide suggestions for going forward.
  • The penalty for non-compliance is initiated by the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. OCR hopes that no action will have to be taken against schools and districts and that EdFacts will receive 100 percent of the data. All parties involved must understand that this is an obligation and it is an important job they must do.

State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Website and Document Depository

Sarah Schaller Ruano (Kforce Government Solutions) demonstrated the public LDS website and its various resources, including LDS Share.

  • LDS Share, a Longitudinal Data Systems Document Depository, is a CD that will be created and distributed by NCES. It is intended to facilitate sharing LDS related resources between states. The CD currently includes 75 documents that have been shared by grantee states. For more information about LDS Share, to submit a document, or to request your CD, contact Sarah at Sarah.Schaller@ed.gov.
  • The LDS website is available to the public and includes information such as the project's history, timeline, voluntary standards, guidelines, events (with links to PowerPoint presentations), and information about each grantee state.
  • The LDS Share CD differs from the DQC website because USED is limited with respect to the items that they can share, while DQC is not.
  • According to Commissioner Mark Schneider's NCES Update, it is possible that $50,000 LDS planning grants might be established through the FY 2008 Task Order Awards.

State Longitudinal Grant Progress Reports

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education), Alvin Larson (Connecticut Department of Education), and Lavan Dukes (Florida Department of Education) presented updates about SLDS grant progress in their states. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found on the SLDS website.

Additional Areas of Discussion

The Committee briefly discussed the following other topics relating to education data.

The NCES Personnel Exchange provides funds to support staff exchanges between states.

Anne Brinson (Indiana Department of Education) updated the Committee on her state's Task Order Award and noted that she had gained a much better understanding of the Task Order process by volunteering to review proposals for NCES. Indiana is using its task order award to create a data dictionary that will contain (but may not be limited to) the following information: precise definitions of data elements; usernames, roles, and privileges; schema objects; integrity constraints; stored procedures and triggers; general database structure; and space allocations. More information about task orders is available on the State Task Order Summaries page.

NESAC had more discussion about EdFacts/OCR as well.

  • Members spoke of the need for additional clarification about what is expected by the OCR collection.
  • Collecting data about school athletic teams causes a burden on SEAs and LEAs because students frequently switch teams, teams are shared by schools, and the fact that students play on multiple teams.
  • Even if states pre-populate the collection system, issues of timing will arise because LEAs submit their data to the state at a different time than SEAs submit the data to OCR. The result is that columns may not always match.
  • Problem data areas include, but are not limited to: AP exams, sports, and special education.
  • Current and prior school year data requests are not intuitive for many respondents of the OCR survey.
  • SEAs need to learn about what is happening at the LEA level with this survey.

NESAC Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Afternoon Session)

NESAC Committee Members were divided into state education agency (SEA) representatives and local education agency (LEA) representatives for the purposes of holding focused discussions.

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) led the SEA members in their discussion about communications between the SEA and their LEAs.

  • How do you obtain accurate and timely data from LEAs?
    • States need to determine the cost-benefit of sacrificing quality for timeliness.
    • States can audit LEAs when they feel that submitted data are of poor quality. If this is the case, it can result in reduced funding and other sanctions. Once the issue is resolved, however, the funding should be put back to its normal level.
    • States should expand their support staff so LEAs know who to contact when they need help.
    • States should build relationships with each individual LEA. This can be done through meetings and training sessions.
    • A healthy rivalry might need to be created between LEAs to get quality data submitted on time.
  • When things go wrong with data collection, what are the main problems?
    • The main problems associated with data collection stem from staff turnover, reliance on multiple different vendor systems, and a lack of support to larger districts with complex data needs.
  • What positive suggestions are available from SEAs that have solid organization/association with LEAs?
    • States with high levels of collaboration strongly recommend the face-to-face type of meetings they hold with the LEAs.
    • As a long term solution to problems with LEA data submission, public embarrassment is not the best option.

Linda Rocks (Bossier Parish Schools, LA) led the LEA members in their discussion, with the focus being on communication between the LEAs and their SEA.

  • Ways for LEAs to improve communications with their SEA include: state superintendent memos, face-to-face meetings, and online meetings and conference calls. Face-to-face meetings can sometimes be an additional burden on LEAs because of travel expenses. It was suggested that LEAs include meeting expenses in their RFPs.
  • A system needs to be established to increase sharing among LEAs. This might relieve some of the problems and time delays associated with communications in general.
  • States might consider creating a Data Advisory Committee that will include people from the SEA and LEAs, as well as other interested parties.
  • Oftentimes divisions exist within states based on geography and population, where one area of a state might dominate another. It was suggested that regional offices be created to ease communication between LEAs and the SEA.
  • Quality data collection depends on LEAs being told well in advance when the data collections are going to occur and what data they should expect to collect.
  • LEAs submit better quality and more timely data when there is evidence that the data are actually being used. This helps to answer the question, "Why are we collecting the data?" that is often asked by LEA staff. It helps to know these answers and encourages better data collection. To convey this information, conferences might be held with school principals and others to inform them about the value of accurate and timely data collection.

Best Practices for Use of Longitudinal Data

Raymond Yeagley (Northwest Evaluation Association) addressed the committee about the best practices for the use of longitudinal data at the local level.

  • LEAs need to look at longitudinal data systems just as SEAs have done. The SLDS grants have moved many SEAs into a better place with longitudinal data, but they need to focus on LEAs as well.
  • The number one issue impacting student learning is teacher quality.
  • When constructing a data system, it is best to start answering the questions posed and then build the system around the questions.
  • Data quality is the first priority of anyone involved.
  • Data should be used from multiple domains and made available to the most basic level of need.
  • A non-threatening and ongoing data dialogue should be created.

NESAC Election

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) accepted the nomination of the incoming 2008 NESAC chair and vice chair: Linda Rocks, Bossier Parish Schools (LA), was nominated for NESAC Chair and Helene Bettencourt, Massachusetts Department of Education, was nominated vice chair for 2008.

Joint Session: Teacher/Staff Compensation Update

NESAC Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Steering Committee Report

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) gave a report from the steering committee meetings held during the week.

New Working Groups and Task Forces

  • Disaster Recovery Working Group (PPI)
  • LDS Lessons Learned (TECH)
  • Data Ethics Working Group (TECH)—to provide guidelines on appropriate data use and discuss protecting data according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • OCR/EDFacts—depending on discussions with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education
  • Race Ethnicity Task Force Approved

Other Topics

This time was allotted for discussion of additional topics of interest to NESAC members.

  • Suggestions for helping SEAs submit their data on time should be posted on the SLDS website.
  • Members discussed the Truancy Task Force and its reformation into the Attendance working group. Because truancy is a function of attendance, the group will study attendance codes and related concepts, especially as can already be found in existing Forum publications.
  • NESAC members discussed the Race Ethnicity Task Force, which will create a guide for USED, SEA, and LEA staff, and vendors to use when implementing recent federal changes to race/ethnicity data collections. The document will include sample letters and forms about why the change is going to occur and how to carry it out efficiently (and on a tight timeline).
  • Upcoming postings to the Federal Register to make note of include:
    • MSIX regulations
    • MSIX minimum data elements are posted and comments are due July 30, 2007
    • EDFacts/OCR 30 day comment period

Policies, Programs and Implementation (PPI)
Monday, July 23, 2007

Introductions and Agenda Review

Chair Bob Beecham (Nebraska Department of Education) called the PPI committee to order and reviewed the agenda.

Opening Session Review and Discussion

Bob Beecham led a discussion about the NCES Update delivered by Commissioner Mark Schneider as well as the presentation on the MSIX (Migrant Student Information Exchange).

Special Task Order Reports

Stacey Murdock, Vermont Department of Education gave a report on their task order funding. The task order helps fund Vermont's Data Warehouse portal. The goals of the portal improvements include assisting local education agencies (LEAs) evaluate their school's performance, providing a vehicle for public reporting, providing state education agency (SEA) staff with performance indicators, and improving data quality. More information about task orders is available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/map.asp.

Task Force Update

Data Quality Curriculum—Roy Herrold and Michael Derman (Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, PA) provided an update on behalf of the task force. The task force has created lesson plans and instruction materials for LEA staff. The final printed product was released at the meeting (http://nces.ed.gov/forum/pub_2007808.asp). The online version of the Curriculum will be available at the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA) On-line University (http://www.sifinfo.org/sifau.asp) at no cost to LEAs and SEAs.

NGA Dropout Rate

Bridget Curran of the National Governor's Association (NGA) gave an update on the NGA's work on the Dropout Rate. It is currently a work in progress that came out of the NGA Gradation Rate Task Force. It is expected to be released in fall 2007 as a cohort rate that complements the NGA graduation rate and utilizes the NCES dropout definition.

PPI Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Morning Session)

Joint Session—EdFacts/Office of Civil Rights

Joint Session Review and Discussion

Bob Beecham led a discussion about the Joint Session by the EdFacts and OCR Office.

Discussion of Emerging Issues: Disaster Recovery

Bob Beecham (Nebraska Department of Education) and Linda Rocks (Bossier Parish Schools, LA) led a discussion on disaster recovery issues in the event of a natural disaster. This conversation followed up on a general session on the same topic from the Winter 2007 Form Meeting. SEA and LEA participants shared their experiences with disaster recover. There was overwhelming support to form a working group on this issue. The working group request form was forwarded to the steering committee.

State Longitudinal Grant Reports, Part I

Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Pennsylvania Department of Education gave summaries of their IES (Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Grants that were awarded in November 2005. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found on the SLDS website.

Sarah Schaller Ruano, Kforce Government Solutions Group, gave an update on the SLDS Website and Document Depository. Sarah demonstrated the public website sections as well as a CD that includes documents from the current grantee states.

PPI Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Afternoon Session)

Task Force Approval

Bethann Canada (Virginia Department of Education), chair of the Race/Ethnicity Working Group, reported that the TECH Committee had voted to forward their Request to Forum a Task Force to PPI. PPI voted unanimously to give the group task force status and advanced the request to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee later approved the request and established the Forum's Race/Ethnicity Task Force.

Election of Officer

The PPI committee nominated Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education as chair of PPI and James Heassley, Waukesha School District, WI, as vice chair of PPI. These nominees were forwarded to the Steering Committee.

Enhancing Coordination: NEDP

Deborah Newby of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) gave a presentation on the National Education Data Program (NEDP), Part II. A new website with the url "schooldatadirectory.org" (not yet posted) will replace the School Matters website and be released in the early fall. NEDP is also working on the second phase of Decision Support Architecture Consortium (DSAC) and the SLDS task force of the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC).

Enhancing Coordination: Data Sharing

Bob Beecham (Nebraska Department of Education) led a discussion of data sharing with other state education agencies, such as certification for Medicaid and the National School Lunch Program. PPI members shared how this data sharing was done in their states and formulated some questions for Leroy Rooker, USED.

FERPA Update

Leroy Rooker of the Family Policy and Compliance Office (US Department of Education) joined PPI for a discussion about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). He said that currently proposed regulations will not be ready in this calendar year. The new regulations should address K-16 data sharing that is consistent with state authorities/laws. The revised regulations will be shared in the Notes on Proposed Rulemaking. Leroy then took questions from the group.

Joint Session: Teacher/Staff Compensation Update

PPI Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Joint Session Review and Discussion

Bob Beecham led a discussion about the Joint Session on Teacher/Staff Compensation.

Working Group Discussion

Tom Purwin (Jersey City Public Schools, NJ) presented an idea out of TECH for a working group on Data Ethics. He asked for support for a working group until the winter 2008 meeting. PPI unanimously agreed that this was an idea that warranted advancing in a working group.

State Longitudinal Grant Reports, Part II

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Education, the Michigan Department of Education, and the Maryland State Department of Education gave summaries of their IES (Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Grants that were awarded in November 2005. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found on the SLDS website.

Steering Committee Update

A brief overview of Steering Committee activities was shared with PPI by chair Bob Beecham. PPI members discussed the Forum meeting thus far and offered feedback.

Future PPI Planning

Bob Beecham and Levette Williams led a discussion on agenda items for the winter Forum meeting. A follow-up of the newly approved working groups was suggested, as was a request to hear from the new SLDS grantee states (awarded in June 2007). Some members wanted to ask Leroy Rooker back to speak, especially if the new FERPA regulations are out by then. Other issues discussed included the electronic transfer of records; teacher salaries; possible other Data Quality Curriculum modules such as longitudinal data; the use of free lunch as a poverty measure; and Data Quality Campaign efforts to link teacher and student data.

Technology Committee (TECH)
Monday, July 23, 2007

Introductions and Agenda Review

Chair Jeff Stowe (Arizona Department of Education) called the TECH committee to order and reviewed the agenda.

Opening Session Review and Discussion

NCES Update: Commissioner Schneider's comments were helpful for informing Forum members about NCES plans.

MSIX: Migrant systems are often data silos in SEAs and LEAs. The purpose of MSIX is to improve communications across SEAs. MSIX is not a separate database; it is intended to automate a data exchange process that already exists.

  • The end of September rollout of the MSIX initiative took many TECH members by surprise.
  • MSIX data exchange will occur via FTP initially, although a SIF transfer protocol may be piloted. The periodicity of data transfer will be based on how often the data change.
  • Target users are LEA counselors and registrars. Validation of "near match" results will be an SEA responsibility, although they may incorporate LEAs in this work.
  • MSIX will employ a train-the-trainer model—SEA staff will be trained so that they can, in turn, train LEAs within their state.
  • Visit http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/recordstransfer.html for more information about MSIX.

Longitudinal Data System Working Group Proposal

Kashka Kubzdela (NCES) asked whether TECH might entertain the possibility of supporting a working group to develop a Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS). The document would be based on the experiences of current IES State Longitudinal Data System grant recipients (and other SEA or LEAs with existing longitudinal data systems). It would focus on building, implementing, and maintaining an LDS project in an education agency.

  • TECH asked whether there was overlap with the CCSSO EIMAC LDS Task Force. Subsequent inquiries suggested that such a guide would complement rather than conflict with CCSSO work.
  • A key to the document is that it should have an SEA/LEA perspective.
  • Given that many education agencies are in the middle of developing LDS systems, we'd want this effort to be on a tight timeline. One possibility is to produce a series of mini-resource by topic in a modular way (e.g., writing separate min-publications about system requirements and RFPs, introducing student IDs, exchanging student records, etc. that can be combined into a single resource upon completion).
  • TECH liked the idea and voted to establish a LDS Working Group.

Data Ethics Working Group

Tom Purwin (Jersey City Public Schools, NJ) raised the issue of the "ethics of data collection, use, and storage". Examples of relevant topics include the appropriate and inappropriate use of data, conflicts of interest, how to deal with complaints about data collection and use, and how to deal with ethically inappropriate conduct.

  • AERA has some resources on evaluation ethics and the National Association of Test Directors (NATD) has guidelines for administering assessments. Forum members did not know about other resources that have already been developed.
  • It is important to emphasize that a data ethics resource would be in the form of guidelines rather than requirements. TECH members also noted that there are laws for protecting data and that absent a violation of law, SEAs and LEAs probably cannot prohibit data access based on ethical issues (e.g., suspected unethical use or conduct by the user). Having acknowledged this, TECH participants agreed that a resource to encourage and improve the ethical management and use of data is most worthwhile.
  • TECH liked the idea of creating a Data Ethics Working Group, but wondered if it might be more appropriate for PPI to sponsor the group (noting that working group members could come from any of the Forum's standing committees). Tom Purwin later presented the idea to PPI, which agreed unanimously that it warranted advancing as a working group.

Race Ethnicity Working Group Becomes a Task Force

Bethann Canada (Virginia Department of Education), chair of the Race/Ethnicity Working Group, presented a request to form a Race/Ethnicity Task Force. TECH approved the request and advanced it to PPI which, with the agreement of the Steering Committee, later approved the formation of the Race/Ethnicity Task Force.

Metadata Task Force Report

Chair Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) reported that the Task Force expects to release a public review draft of the Forum Guide to Metadata late this fall (2007). Pending comment from Forum members and other reviewers, the document could be completed by the Winter 2008 Forum Meeting.

PK-12 Data Model Task Force Report

Co-chair Jeff Stowe (Arizona Department of Education) updated TECH members on the progress made by the Task Force since February. A first draft of the data model has been designed, and is available in ontology (XML) and taxonomy (OWL) views. The Task Force will begin soliciting feedback on the data model later this fall, and the project appears to be on schedule for a summer 2008 completion date.

TECH Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Morning Session)

Joint Session—EdFacts/Office of Civil Rights

State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) Website and Document Depository

Sarah Schaller Ruano (Kforce Government Solutions) demonstrated the public SLDS website and its various resources, including LDS Share.

  • LDS Share, a Longitudinal Data Systems Document Depository, is a CD that will be created and distributed by NCES. It is intended to facilitate sharing LDS related resources between states. The CD currently includes 75 documents that have been shared by grantee states. For more information about LDS Share, to submit a document, or to request your CD, contact Sarah at Sarah.Schaller@ed.gov.
  • The LDS website is available to the public and includes information such as the project's history, timeline, voluntary standards, guidelines, events (with links to PowerPoint presentations), and information about each grantee state.
  • The LDS Share CD differs from the DQC website because USED is limited with respect to the items that they can share, while DQC is not.
  • According to Commissioner Mark Schneider's NCES Update, it is possible that $50,000 LDS planning grants might be established through the FY 2008 Task Order Awards.

State Longitudinal Grant Progress Reports

Corey Chatis (Tennessee Department of Education) and Carmen Jordan (Arkansas Department of Education) shared an update on SLDS grant progress in their states. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found on the SLDS website.

Task Order Report

Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) shared an update on her state's task order award. Abstracts of these and the other task order awards can be found on the Forum website.

Follow-Up Discussion: EdFacts/Office of Civil Rights Data Collection

Ross Santy (USED Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, OPEPD), Rebecca Fitch (USED, Office for Civil Rights), Clare Banwart (USED, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development), and Nancy Walker (West Virginia Department of Education) met with TECH to follow up on their Tuesday morning EdFacts/OCR joint session presentation.

  • Forum members expressed concerns about moving the OCR collection to an annual universe survey. The presenters reminded members that the data are important for OCR to fulfill its mission. Forum members noted there might be items that could be removed, and even some that might be added (e.g., Why ask about AP but not IB coursework?).
  • Forum members also asked about how/whether OCR data can be made available to SEAs and LEAs (i.e., Can any of it be useful to the providers themselves?).
  • Ross asked that the Forum establish a working group or subcommittee that could be used to open a dialogue between EdFacts, the Office for Civil Rights (ED), and local and state education agency representatives. TECH liked the idea and agreed to forward it to the Steering Committee, which later decided to ask Ghedam Bairu (NCES) to work with Ross to establish the group.

TECH Tuesday, July 24, 2007 (Afternoon Session)

SCED Publication Announced

Lee Hoffman (NCES) announced the publication of the Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED), which is now available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007341.

Technology in Education Discussion

Hugh Walkup (USED) initiated a discussion about cutting edge use of technology in education by introducing the School 2.0 website (http://www.school2-0.org/). School 2.0 is a brainstorming tool designed to help schools, districts and communities develop a common education vision for the future and to explore how that vision can be supported by technology. It prepared TECH members for Wednesday morning's in-depth discussion about issues TECH might wish to deal with in the future. Among other major points, Hugh stressed that instruction should drive all business processed in education, including those related to data and technology, and that teachers need to become data users (and have access to relevant data).

TECH Election

Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) was elected TECH Chair and Steve Smith, Waterville Public Schools (ME), was elected TECH vice chair for 2008.

Joint Session: Teacher/Staff Compensation Update

TECH Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CCSSO's School Data Direct Website & Consolidated Data Ask Update

Deborah Newby (CCSSO) updated Forum members about CCSSO's National Education Data Partnership (NEDP), a national effort to improve the quality, accessibility, and transparency of state education data. Partners in this effort include CCSSO, Standard & Poor's, CELT Corporation, and Data Quality Campaign. It is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • As a component of this work, SchoolDataDirect.org (not yet live) will be the url for the rebranded SchoolMatters website, although SchoolMatters will continue to be run by S&P specifically for parents.
  • NEDP is also working on the second phase of Decision Support Architecture Consortium (DSAC) and the SLDS task force of the Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC).

CCSSO National Education Data Partnership Zip File (1.83 MB)

State Longitudinal Grant Progress Reports (continued)

Robert Hackworth (Kentucky Department of Education) and John Paulson (Minnesota Department of Education) shared an update on SLDS grant progress in their states. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found on the SLDS website.

New Technologies Affecting Education & Data

This was an extension of the Schools 2.0 presentation by Hugh Walkup (USED) on Tuesday afternoon. A rich discussion about technology issues affecting education data ensued. Issues for TECH to consider in the future include:

  • Filtering for SIFA compliance.
  • C drive encryption—I.e., protecting confidential information on computers that are lost or stolen.
  • Data/storage security on handhelds—Including those used by students, which are often lost or stolen.
  • Data security for learning management systems and student information systems—These systems pass confidential data throughout a network (Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education).
  • Cell suppression—A topic that everyone needs to deal with. Each state may have its own rules for n, but the techniques, application guidance, etc., can probably be generalizable in the form of best practices.
  • Error reporting—How do data quality issues get communicated most effectively from SEAs to LEAs? (Corey Chatis, Tennessee Department of Education)
  • Community communications—E.g., portals, automated phone calls, etc.
  • Identity management—including identification and authorization (Tom Ogle, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).
  • Interoperability in the K–16 system—This is no longer a concept; people need details about how to accomplish it and they need to do so very soon. Subtopics might include, but not be limited to transcript exchanges, messaging systems, and information architecture (Bethann Canada, Virginia Department of Education).
  • Data safety—Secure FTP, encrypting data in databases, and wireless encryption, including polices as well as technical guidance (Bruce Dacey, Delaware Department of Education).
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds and other presentation technologies—Reporting isn't just pie charts and data tables anymore (Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education).
  • Pandemic Flu Planning—This topic should be addressed by the PPI Disaster Recovery Working Group.

TECH wants to limit its focus to education data management rather than broader technology security in general so, for example, a discussion on firewalls probably isn't appropriate for us.

Professional development at the Forum: TECH members who have expertise in one of these topics could give a presentation at our meetings for other members. We may also want to consider inviting knowledgeable vendors, if they can assure us that they will educate rather than market during their time with us. These presentations could even be shared by multiple member/vendors who have something to add to a coordinated session/strand during TECH meeting time.

This fall, we'll use the TECH listserv to determine which topics are our priorities for the Winter 2008 TECH/Forum Meeting. Based on those findings, and the availability of TECH/outside experts, we can schedule professional development presentations.

It is possible that some of these topics may turn into task force ideas. Minimally, we'll want to update existing Forum technology resources (e.g., Forum Unified Technology Suite) to reflect these cutting edge topics.

These discussion may likely affect future TECH strategic planning.

Steering Committee
NCES Summer Forum 2007

Steering Committee Monday, July 23, 2007

Welcome and Opening Comments

Chair Derrick Lindsay (Mississippi Department of Education) opened the Steering Committee and welcomed members to the 2007 Summer Forum Meeting.

Orientation Session Comments

The consensus was that it was a very good orientation for our new members. Participants seemed to really benefit from the small group discussions in particular.

New Forum members should be encouraged to join new task forces, but not existing task forces, given the pace of task force work. To this end, we should create a webpage/handout about how to join a Forum working group/task force. While it could be directed at new members, it would benefit all members.

Pre-Meeting Guidance

As always seems to be the case, we've got full agendas, so standing committees and general sessions need to start and end on time.

Steering Committee Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Opening Session Comments

NCES Commissioner Mark Schneider gave a particularly interesting NCES Update. He went out of his way to compliment the Forum's productivity. Moreover, there are a lot of activities going on at NCES that are relevant to SEA and LEA interests.

The Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX) Panel (Jennifer Dozier, U.S. Department of Education; Dave Masengale, Deloitte & Touche; and Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education) had important information for Forum members to hear. Members thought that the end of September (2007) rollout of the MSIX was aggressive. They were glad to hear directly from the MSIX presenters because many Forum members were not aware that this initiative was happening.

EdFacts/OCR Assistance

Ross Santy (OPEPD) asked that the Forum establish a working group or subcommittee that could be used to open a dialogue between EdFacts, the Office for Civil Rights (ED), and local and state education agency representatives. These discussions would focus on how to best proceed with plans to enable states to submit LEA data for the Office for Civil Rights Data Collection. It might address content (e.g., guidance on which elements are appropriate and which are particularly burdensome), communications issues, and submission details. The Steering Committee agreed that the Forum wants to engage in this discussion. Ghedam will work with Ross to set up the group.

One extension of this discussion could be to identify how state and districts use OCR data that are collected (i.e., best practice use) and then share this information with other states and districts. NESAC will discuss whether and how to do this in the future.

Forum Presentations

The Forum heard some very good presentations at this meeting. We should ask presenters for copies of their PPTs and post them to the Forum website.

Roundtables

The back-to-back schedule for roundtables seemed to be well-received by Forum members. We will wait to see the evaluations, but people appeared to appreciate not having to choose one task force session over another.

Standing Committees

Chairs updated the Steering Committee on the day's events during standing committee time in NESAC, PPI, and TECH. Items of special interest to the Steering Committee included the approval of a Disaster Recovery Working Group in PPI and the approval of a Longitudinal Data System Working Group and a Data Ethics Working Group in TECH.

Other Topics

  • PPI learned from Leroy Rooker (Family Policy and Compliance Office, US Department of Education) that changes to FERPA may broaden the ability of states to share information as long as doing so is supported by state law. The Forum considered whether it had a role to play in helping states develop appropriate laws, but determined that this type of policy work is more suitable for CCSSO/EIMAC.
  • The TECH Longitudinal Data System Working Group does not conflict or overlap with CCSSO/EIMAC LDS work, so TECH should proceed.
  • Because the Forum has undertaken so much task force work, visitors to our website might benefit from an easy way of identifying the status of our various projects. One idea for dealing with this is to include graphical conventions that highlight task force/working group status on the main page of "Current Projects".
  • In the final meeting notes for the Summer 2007 Forum Meeting, we should pull out the State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) and NCES Task Order reports.
  • We should add the Working Group Request Form to the website.

Steering Committee Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Susan VanGorden (Lakota Local School District, OH) officially assumed the role of Forum chair.

Our next conference call will be on Friday, August 17 at 1:00 p.m. Ghedam will send details as the date approaches.

Winter 2007 Meeting Planning

We should find an LEA representative who used the Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A Resource for Local Education Agencies to give a joint session presentation at the Winter 2008 Forum Meeting.

We cannot have 27 different SLDS presentations at the Winter 2008 Forum Meeting (the total number of grantees after the June 2007 awards). We need to figure out how we want to proceed with SLDS updates—we may want to consider scheduling the SLDS and NCES Task Order reports as a single joint session.

Other Topics

  • Has the Forum ever considered having members-at-large for representatives who contribute but may not have a stable appointment? Ghedam will consider the options for dealing with this.
  • The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (OPEPD) would like to become a Forum member. The Steering Committee encourages this and asked Ghedam to sent an invitation.
 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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