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Summer 2012 Forum Meeting Notes


National Forum on Education Statistics
July 9–11, 2012
Washington, DC



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Professional Development Session: Using Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) as a Governance Tool in Your Agency

Monday, July 9, 2012

Using Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) as a Governance Tool in Your Agency MS PowerPoint (2.46 MB)
Bill Huennekens (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) and Jim Campbell (AEM Corporation) led a professional development session on using Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) as a governance tool in education agencies. Bill began the presentation by discussing Washington's CEDS efforts, which include regular discussion of CEDS at meetings of the Data Management Committee and the Data Governance Group, collaborative efforts with information technology staff, and joint work with the agency enterprise architect. Bill found that P-20W stakeholders benefitted from an in-depth workshop on CEDS; a strategy he recommends for other states interested in CEDS implementation across the P-20W spectrum. Washington State is interested in cross-state mapping and the use of CEDS to facilitate data exchanges, and stakeholders from neighboring states were invited to the workshop. Following the workshop, partner organizations committed to mapping their source systems to CEDS. The Data Governance Group has also recommended a Washington State CEDS Adoption Policy for consideration by the agency cabinet. Bill demonstrated mapping currently underway using the CEDS Align Tool, and discussed lessons learned during mapping. He noted the importance of adding comments when mapping systems to CEDS, the need to be creative when mapping, and the importance of standards. Future plans include implementing the adoption policy and continuing with data mapping. Head Start, early childhood, and foster care systems will be targeted next for mapping. In response to questions, Bill noted that mapping with external agencies is conducted within the education agency to prevent the disclosure of data. Requests for data sharing are handled by a P-20 data governance group.

Jim Campbell provided a brief background on CEDS and information on how to access publications on the CEDS website (https://ceds.ed.gov/) before discussing CEDS as a data governance tool. Using the definition of data governance provided by the Forum and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program State Support Team, Jim asked Forum members to spend time at their tables identifying examples where data governance impacts their agencies. Forum members then engaged in a second exercise to identify scenarios where data alignment is a part of their organization's data governance and/or education data conversation. Jim reviewed methods for aligning data, and demonstrated how the use of a common standard can assist with comparing, aligning, and merging records. CEDS is beneficial to data governance when an agency engages in discussions with other groups across the P-20 spectrum to bridge systems. Importantly, mapping to CEDS does not require any changes to existing systems. Widespread CEDS mapping benefits agencies because in order to compare data, agencies only need to map to CEDS once, whereas without CEDS the agency would need to map to each different system individually.

Two web-based CEDS tools can assist users with aligning data to CEDS. CEDS Align (https://ceds.ed.gov/alignmentTool.aspx) allows any CEDS stakeholder to import or input full or partial data dictionaries, compare data dictionaries, and analyze data in relation to other CEDS-aligned efforts. Jim shared examples of CEDS Align uses and demonstrated how to create a map using the tool and how to view published maps. He noted that vendors have begun aligning to CEDS. Forum members provided recommendations for the potential enhancements to the tool, including

  • improving the process for accessing the CEDS element definitions and codes so that it is more intuitive;
  • making mapping to multiple elements two-directional; and
  • allowing for flags to indicate which elements are options and which are required for matching algorithms.

CEDS Connect (https://ceds.ed.gov/connect.aspx) is a crowd-sourced, community-owned tool that allows users to generate specific maps relevant to CEDS-aligned applications, such as graduation rates.

In a "CEDS Speed Session" Forum members were asked to form groups and answer questions regarding CEDS. At the conclusion of the session, groups shared their answers with the full Forum.

  1. One improvement I would like to see in CEDS Align:
    • When determining how closely an organization's element definition matches the CEDS definition, it would be useful to be able to see the CEDS definitions.
    • Standardized map names or best practices for naming maps would be helpful.
    • Reminder emails should be sent to users who have published maps to be sure that their maps are up-to-date. This is especially important when new versions of CEDS are released.
    • Date stamps on maps and elements would help to ensure that shared information is current.
  2. A use of CEDS in the local education agency (LEA) space might be:
    • LEAs could use CEDS for electronic transcript systems.
    • After mapping to CEDS, LEAS can compare local systems to streamline and reduce redundancies.
    • LEAs without data dictionaries can use the align tool to develop a data dictionary.
    • CEDS can be used to introduce data discussions on topics such as governance and data quality at the LEA level.
  3. A challenge of CEDS is:
    • Resources are scarce and CEDS funding would be beneficial.
    • Talking to the right stakeholders and having enough knowledge to communicate CEDS effectively.
    • Outreach, especially to LEAs.
    • Identifying and explaining the value of mapping to CEDS to others.
    • Workforce data are very different and will be difficult to bridge.

Lee Rabbitt (Newport Public Schools (RI)) provided an LEA perspective on CEDS. She noted that LEAs are being asked to provide increasing amounts of data, and CEDS tools can help with aligning various data systems, looking at data collectively, and reporting on data. CEDS also allows LEAs to align their day-to-day data collections, such as lunch and special education data. Many LEAs do not possess the resources to do data governance and development, and CEDS assists with these efforts. CEDS also helps LEAs to share data across states in the form of feedback reports. Lee suggested that Forum LEA representatives could use published presentations on CEDS to educate their colleagues.

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Opening Session

Monday, July 9, 2012

Forum Agenda Review and Introduction MS PowerPoint (327 KB)
Forum Chair David Weinberger (Yonkers Public Schools (NY)) welcomed Forum members to the 2012 Summer Forum Meeting in Washington, DC. He introduced the Forum officers and welcomed the following new members to the meeting:

  • Art Burke, Regional Educational LaboratoryŚNorthwest
  • Tamara Darnall, South Dakota Department of Education
  • Cliff Eichel, Charles County Public Schools (MD)
  • Reylam Guerra-Goderich, Puerto Rico Department of Education
  • Karen Lane, Indiana Department of Education
  • Edward Moreno-Alonso, Puerto Rico Department of Education
  • Gary Neihaus, McLean County School District 5 (IL)
  • Ellis Ott, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (AK)
  • Sameano Porchea, Nebraska Department of Education
  • Annette Severson, Colorado Department of Education
  • Emily Tew, Utah State Office of Education
  • Margaret Votta, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • John Walker, Henryetta Public Schools (OK)
  • Jerry Winkler, Utah State Office of Education

David encouraged new members to visit the three standing committees, talk with state and local colleagues, and volunteer for working groups when opportunities become available. He reviewed the mission of the Forum and noted that Forum website visits and publication downloads are steadily increasing. After a brief review of the agenda for the session, he welcomed John Easton, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education to give the welcoming address.

Welcome to the Summer 2012 Meeting
John Easton, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), reflected on work accomplished at the Winter 2012 Forum in San Diego, California. He described Forum members as engaged, committed, and knowledgeable about education data and noted that he has often recommended Forum products to colleagues. John emphasized his commitment to the use of quality data to drive school improvement, and noted that this goal will require partnerships and collaboration between researchers and practitioners. Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) and affiliated research alliances can contribute to such partnerships, and he encouraged Forum members to work with RELs to get the research and support needed in state and local education agencies.

Data Use and the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program
Ruth Neild (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance) thanked the Forum for welcoming representatives of the RELs and devoting time at the meeting to discussions with these representatives. She noted that there are commonalities between the mission of the Forum and the mission of the RELs, specifically around the topic of making data useful. Useful data must be high quality, well-organized, well-populated, and well-defined. Useful data can answer important questions and guide education decisionmaking. Ruth shared her ideas on how the Forum and the RELs can work together, beginning with the use of Forum guides. Forum guides are written based on the expertise of practitioners and are well-regarded in the education data community. As such, they can provide a good starting point for conversations about data use. Information contained in guides can also spark new ideas for research. The Forum may also be able to help address research issues faced by RELs, including questions regarding the use of SEA and LEA data. Education decisionmaking requires the right data to be available at the right time to the right people. By working together, the Forum and RELs can advance the common goal of bringing data to bear on education decision making.

REL Roundtable Discussions
Forum members and REL representatives divided into roundtables according to REL regions for group discussions. The discussions provided an opportunity for each group to identify ways that SEAs, LEAs, and RELs can collaborate and to identify areas where SEA, LEA, and REL research agendas align.

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Joint Session: National School Lunch Program

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

NSLP Forum 2012 MS PowerPoint (716 KB)
Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) moderated a panel presentation on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Kathy explained that Free and Reduced Price Meal (FRPM) data are collected on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide nutritional meals to children in need. FRPM data have been re-purposed within the field of education as a poverty indicator, and changes to NSLP will impact the use of these data. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and USDA are therefore partnering to identify and address challenges resulting from the change.

Julie Brewer (USDA) began her presentation by noting that the challenge ahead was determining how to move forward with changing NSLP data while meeting the data needs of education agencies. The NSLP is "a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day." Julie provided an overview of the NSLP administration as well as federal income guidelines for program participation. The traditional process for enrollment in the program involved the use of a household application. A newer direct certification process allows schools to certify eligible children using data from other assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). When using direct certification, families must be given the opportunity to decline. Advantages of direct certification include the elimination of the need for applications, an increase in program access, and enhanced accuracy. Certain states are piloting direct certification via Medicaid to reach more eligible, uncertified children.

NSLP provisions provide alternatives to the annual process of applications. Provision 1 allows schools where 80% of students are FRPM eligible to certify children who are eligible for free meals every two years. Provision 1 schools do not have to serve all students free lunches, but reduced lunch and paying households must apply annually. Provision 2 is more commonly used than Provision 1 and does not require a minimum percentage of students to meet FRPM eligibility. Provision 2 schools must serve all meals free, and reimbursement is based on an established base year percentage. Provision 3 also provides simplified counting and claiming; schools establish a base year level of cash and commodity assistance and continue to claim that level of assistance with some adjustments for a four-year period. Joint USDA and ED guidance on Provisions 2 and 3 was issued on February 20, 2003. More information is available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/prov-1-2-3/provision1_2_3.htm.

The Community Eligibility Option (CEO) is a new option added in 2010 as an alternative to collecting household applications. It allows eligible LEAs or schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students for four successive school years. Julie provided information on how LEAs determine eligibility for the program, how reimbursement is calculated, and how the CEO works with direct certification. The CEO is currently available in several states and will be available nationwide starting in the 2014-15 school year.

Lily Clark (ED) began her discussion by acknowledging that National School Lunch Act (NSLA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) data privacy protections, especially relating to disclosure, are not yet fully aligned. ED met with USDA prior to finalizing the 2011 FERPA regulations, and ongoing meetings are currently underway between the two agencies to develop joint guidance. A legal analysis will identify inconsistencies between the NSLA and FERPA. Lily invited Forum members to provide feedback during standing committee meetings on the challenges facing SEAs and LEAs.

Ross Santy (ED) discussed uses of NSLP data across education, including the Common Core of Data (CCD) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP regularly uses FRPM data, and NAEP results are disaggregated by NSLP eligibility. Title I relies on Census data for funding formulas, however; Ross noted that many LEAs have historically used NSLP data for within-district distributions of Title I funds. Most states use NSLP data in some way as an indicator of economic status. ED and USDA released joint guidance on Title I uses of NSLP in 2002 and 2003. In 2011, ED sent a letter to chief state school officers in CEO states with information on significant aspects of CEO for educational use of NSLP data. The letter did not provide formal guidance. Ross discussed the implications of NSLP changes on the use of FRPM data within education, and offered a list of next steps for addressing the implications. He encouraged Forum members to provide feedback on the ongoing use of FRPM data.

Tom Howell (Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information) discussed Michigan's experience piloting the CEO in 2011. Michigan saw an increase in statewide FRPM counts from 2010-2011, and 20% of Michigan schools chose to implement the CEO. Tom reported that the program is doing well at providing meals to students in need. Yet the success of the CEO has led to changes in the data that affect Title I programs, state programs, and state data analysis.

Robert Rodosky (Jefferson County Public Schools (KY)) gave a brief overview of Kentucky's experience with CEO; 18 of Kentucky's 176 districts are using the CEO. CEO use impacts data for numerous programs, ranging from Title I and EŚRate to the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship and the Preschool Education Program. Jefferson County Public Schools has not yet elected to use the CEO, and concerns include questions about who will implement changes and what it will cost, as well as the effects on student assignments, choice, and mobility.

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Joint Session: The Importance of Quality Education Data

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Importance of Quality Education Data MS PowerPoint (459 KB)
Marilyn Seastrom, Chief Statistician and Acting Deputy Commissioner with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provided a presentation on the importance of quality education data. She offered a brief overview about data driven decisionmaking and shared statements made by Education Secretary Arne Duncan regarding the courage required to expose flaws in data. Marilyn cited reports on graduation dropout rates, performance and assessments, and subgroups of students to illustrate the increased focus on education data in the news and press. She noted that an increased focus on quality accompanies the growing use of education data. Marilyn highlighted 40 published reports from the Forum to introduce the credo: "Good data help to make good policies." She reported that over time, the credo has been expanded to include data at the school, district, state and national levels. Marilyn then explained recent changes in data review procedures including edit procedures that will help identify potential errors and increase the quality of data. NCES also plans to implement more ways for data providers to submit feedback to NCES. In closing, Marilyn noted that states and the U.S. Department of Education rely on quality data provided by LEAs. She also highlighted the importance of working together to ensure that quality data are available to inform good policies.

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Joint Session: Assessment Consortia

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Assessment Consortia
In 2010, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) won competitive grants to develop assessment systems that will meet the dual needs of accountability and instructional improvement. The Forum welcomed representatives the consortia to provide updates on the work of each group and to answer questions.

Joe Willhoft, (SBAC), provided a presentation MS PowerPoint (1.67 MB) on work done by SBAC to develop new assessments aligned to Common Core State Standards (CCSS). SBAC is a state-led consortium that includes twenty two governing states and five advisory states. Washington State is the SBAC fiscal agent, and WestEd provides project management services. The assessment system is designed so that teachers and schools have the information and tools they need to improve teaching and learning. Tools are designed to bridge the gap between the standards established in the Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness and the expectation that all students leave high school ready for college and careers. Three groups of tools are in development: summative assessments benchmarked to college and career readiness; teacher resources for formative assessment practices to improve instruction; and interim assessments that are flexible and can be used for actionable feedback. Joe discussed the components and benefits of each group of new tools. SBAC will use computer adaptive technology for assessments, which allows faster results, shorter test length, increased precision, greater security, and the ability to tailor the test to student ability. SBAC and PARCC are working to ensure information technology (IT) readiness by developing an IT readiness tool for states and districts. Joe provided information on the system architecture and major milestones for the project. Further information is available at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/.

Susan Van Gundy (Achieve, Inc.) reported on PARCC. PARCC is guided by seven assessment priorities and is committed to supporting state efforts to implement and transition to Common Core State Standards and next generation assessments. Unlike SBAC, PARCC relies on a fixed form design and includes diagnostic, mid-year, performance-based, end-of-year, and speaking and listening assessments. Item tryouts are scheduled to take place in Spring 2013, and a field test will be held in Spring 2014. Susan highlighted PARCC's use of technology in three areas: technology-enhanced items; student accessibility profiles; and scoring, reporting and analysis. PARCC technical architecture will be flexible for wide usage, and PARCC technology is organized according to technical component clusters that include content development, test delivery, data management, and the PARCC Resource Center. Version 1.0 of technology guidelines for PARCC assessments were released in April, along with minimum guidelines for new hardware that were developed jointly with SBAC. PARCC has developed a technology tool to collect information on various parameters including device specifications readiness, device to tester readiness, and network infrastructure readiness. Many parameters, including testing windows and bandwidth requirements, are not yet known. The technology readiness tool will be useful to state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) when analyzing their agencies' technological gaps. SEAs and LEAs are able to access their readiness data and use reports to drive readiness planning discussions. Susan reported that PARCC is committed to K-12 engagement and is working to develop expertise on the CCSS and PARCC among education leaders. Higher education engagement is also essential, and PARCC is developing tools for post-secondary engagement and college readiness. Further information on PARCC is available at http://www.parcconline.org/.

Forum members asked questions about adaptive testing, issues and challenges related to aligning assessments with Common Core State Standards, and comparisons between SBAC and PARCC scores. Joe provided the group with a handout MS Word (68 KB) that addressed questions submitted by the Forum following the Winter 2012 Meeting.

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National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) Meeting Summary

Monday, July 9, 2012

Afternoon Session

Welcome, Introductions, and Agenda Review
NESAC Chair Cheryl McMurtrey (Mountain Home School District 193 (ID)) led the group in introductions, welcomed everyone to the Forum and the NESAC committee meeting, and reviewed the NESAC agenda.

Common Education Data Standards MS PowerPoint (2.48 MB)
Beth Young (Quality Information Partners) provided an update on the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) v3 work. CEDS continues to expand in the general areas of early learning, K-12, and postsecondary, and has added four new workgroups in the areas of workforce, career and technical education, adult education, and Race to the Top assessments. There will be a public review of the v3 elements in September with a release of v3 in January, 2013.

Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group
Lee Rabbitt (Newport Public Schools (RI)) chairs the Forum's Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group. The group is now refining a draft of the Forum Guide to the Teacher Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Guide. The document is a practical guide for implementation of the teacher-student data link (TSDL) to support a range of uses at the local, regional, and state levels. It describes numerous considerations related to linking teacher and student data, including governance, policies, data components, business rules, system requirements, and practices. This will be a web document (not printed or bound) and will be sent to the Forum for review by fall 2012. Lee expects the project to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

National Center for Education Statistics Teacher Sampling
Kathy Chandler (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)) visited NESAC and PPI to solicit advice on how NCES should sample teachers for a national sample survey of staff (Schools and Staffing Survey). She noted that to be able to pull the sample they need the names of teachers as well as the years of experience, subject matter taught, and contact information, along with certain school characteristics. NESAC and PPI members offered the following comments:

  • Many states noted that this basic information about their teachers is posted on their website.
  • NCES may wish to access roster data from state education agencies (SEAs), however; roster data may not be available until later in the year.
  • Can NCES pull a sample on positions only and then get the names and contact information after the sample is pulled?
  • The timing of the sample is tough; later in the fall is better than September.
  • There was some concern about the time commitment necessary for teachers to participate in this survey.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morning Session

National School Lunch Program Follow-up Discussion
Julie Brewer (U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)) and Ross Santy and Lily Clark (U.S. Department of Education (ED)) came to NESAC as a follow-up to the joint session. NESAC members asked questions and discussed topics including:

  • Are all students included in the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) economically disadvantaged?
  • Who is in charge? There is a concern about state departments of agriculture and education not talking to each other.
  • The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is administered in state departments of education except in three states.
  • Should state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) stop relying on student eligibility for free and reduced price meals (FRPM) as a poverty indicator and instead create a new economically disadvantaged variable that can be collected on the student level data systems? Ross noted that ED is not doing this; it would be up to the Forum or others to create a new variable.
  • There are concerns that the poverty rates reported will go up erroneously (US News and World Report example).
  • Questions remain about the definition of a household.
  • How vulnerable are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and others to change?
  • What are states doing for their economic disadvantaged status?
  • Will the Forum be setting up a task force in this area? Topics for potential task force consideration include:
    • Quality data that are consistent across states on economic disadvantaged status.
    • Reasons for data.
    • Including experts from outside the Forum as group members.

EDFacts Update
Ross Santy (ED) provided an update on the EDFacts Program, focusing on 1) flexibility agreements, 2) plans to release more EdFacts data to the public, and 3) possible changes to the 2013-14 EdFacts packet. 

  • Flexibility agreements: 26 states have been approved starting with the 2011-12 school year. A review package was available for public comment until July 30, 2012 (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/05/31/2012-13182/notice-of-proposed-information-collection-requests-office-of-planning-evaluation-and-policy). Ross encouraged Forum members to provide feedback on the package, especially on the topics of combined subgroups and interventions. 
    • Combining subgroups: States reported that combining subgroups under certain circumstances (e.g., a particularly low subgroup population in a state) improved data use and better reflected the status and progress of the education system.  Ross encouraged public comments on the list of values provided for subgroups to ensure that it meets the needs of education agencies.
    • Turnaround/School Intervention:  More customized reporting can lead to better data to inform school improvement planning, implementation, and evaluation. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goes away, but many of the components still exist. Some states are categorizing schools according to new criteria, such as priority, focus, or reward schools.   
  • Moving EdFacts data into the public: ED Data Express (http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/) currently provides public access to data from collections such as the Consolidated State Performance Reports (CSPR), the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Common Core of Data (CCD), and others. Work is underway to start reporting district data via maps and offering downloadable data files, with the goal of eventually releasing school level files (School Improvement Grant (SIG) data, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data, etc.) The EDFacts Quality Improvement Program is a formal effort to improve data quality, focusing on data presence, timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and delivery.    
  • 2013-14 EdFacts Package: ED anticipates publishing the 2013-14 package in the fall. ED is currently gathering information and considering areas for inclusion in the package, such as: 
    • charter school authority names;
    • free lunch issues, including understanding metadata;
    • virtual school flags;
    • responsible districts idea (from the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS)); and
    • a shift within migrant education program reporting to using the Migrant Student Records Exchange Initiative (MSIX).

College Readiness
Cheryl McMurtrey (Mountain Home School District 193 (ID)) led a discussion on college readiness measures. NESAC members discussed the following:

  • We should have a definition that isn’t set by our test vendors.
  • We are trying to use one piece of data to answer multiple questions - teacher jobs, etc. based off of reporting on college readiness.
  • Are the two Consortia concerned about this?  Yes – part of the language of the award specifies that they have college and career readiness (CCR) assessments. It is possible that the Consortia should decide this together.
  • Has anyone looked at what states are actually doing?  Consortium has been doing some of this work.

Elections
The committee held leadership elections for the next year. Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) was nominated as the committee Chair. That nomination was seconded and the committee voted unanimously. Allen Miedema (Northshore School District (WA)) was nominated for Vice Chair. The nomination was seconded and Allen was also elected by a unanimous vote.

Afternoon Session

Conducting Descriptive Analysis with Longitudinal Administrative DataPDF File(1.06 MB)

Dorthyjean Cratty (NCES) provided a presentation on descriptive analysis. This work is relevant to state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) conducting in-house analysis, SEAs and LEAs collaborating with research partners, research partners, other researchers who work with administrative data in an SEA or LEA longitudinal data system (LDS), and anyone interested in conducting or interpreting administrative LDS data. There are three issue briefs coming out from the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program in this area:

  • Forming Research Partnerships with State and Local Education Agencies
  • Turning Administrative Data into Research-Ready Longitudinal Datasets
  • Techniques for Analyzing Longitudinal Administrative Data

REL Discussion Cheryl McMurtrey (Mountain Home School District 193 (ID)) led a discussion on the Regional Education Laboratories (RELs). There was general agreement that the roundtables were helpful and a good first step. It was a particularly good opportunity for LEAs to hear about the work of the RELs and what it means for them. NESAC members had the following comments:

  • More information is needed on RELs, including how to contact the REL and what types of work can be pursued with the REL. 
  • REL representatives joining the Forum is a positive step toward collaboration. 
  • It will be useful if RELs look at commonalities between the states in their studies.
  • There seems to be unevenness between the different regions. 
  • It is hoped that the REL projects can be driven by the purpose and vision of LEAs and SEAs rather than REL research interests. 

Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) Update
Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), shared an update on a range of issues facing the education data community, including video and email as “education records,” a legal suit questioning the validity of the new Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, data release policies, a new disclosure review board at ED, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data use licenses, and transparency at the state education agency (SEA) level. SEAs can receive assistance with data transparency through the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). At the spring Education Information Management Advisory Consortium (EIMAC) meeting, PTAC provided each state with an individualized recommendation on improving the transparency of their website. FPCO is working with NCES to expand their data usage licensing process to include ED program data. The first two data sets targeted for licensing are unsuppressed accountability data and Civil Rights Data Collection data. Kathleen then introduced Dale King as the new director of the FPCO. Dale described his experience at ED in vocational, adult, and special education, as well as experience in a state education agency and as a classroom teacher—all of which will help him with his responsibilities at FPCO. He noted how different the world of education data is in 2012 compared to 1974 when FERPA was first enacted—e.g., email, the web, and the cloud. His first priority will be to improve customer service at FPCO, which receives about 150 formal complaints a year and up to 1,000 calls per month. As such, improving the utility of the FPCO website will be a high priority.

FERPA Follow-up Discussion
NESAC members broke into LEA and SEA subgroups to come up with a list of improvements for the FERPA website to share with Dale King, the Director of the Family Policy Compliance Office. Recommended improvements include:

  • Agreement templates (offer multiple templates to choose from)
  • Contract language (e.g., for Student Information System vendors)
  • Using technology as a privacy tool (e.g., Screen timeout)
  • Practicality (something small they can hand to other people): 1-2 page documents targeted at specific populations/users
  • Templates for waivers, contracts, different user groups
  • Website arranged by users (e.g., Teacher, school administrator)
  • Indexed website
  • Improved response times; information is often not released and questions are not answered in a timely manner.
  • User-friendly websites (PTAC responses are quick and the website is more user-friendly. Can ed.gov be changed to be more like that?)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Morning Session

Assessment Consortia Follow-up
Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education) and Susan Van Gundy (Achieve, Inc.), who both represent the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), came to the committee to answer questions following the joint session the afternoon before. Questions from the committee included:

  • What information will be available for teachers to use at the end of this?
  • When will final blueprints be available? 
  • Will the teacher-student data linkage be in this system?
  • What are the costs of implementation?
  • How much information will be provided from the technology tool for education agencies to take to their policymakers for budgets?

Steering Committee Business Report
Cheryl McMurtrey (Mountain Home School District 193 (ID)) gave a brief overview of the issues from the Steering Committee, including a potential working group to address the need for economically disadvantaged indicators.

Winter 2012 Planning
Suggested topics for the Winter 2013 Meeting included:

  • College and Career Readiness
  • Cohort dropout rate v. annual dropout rate: why the two are necessary, when to use one or the other
  • CEDS update again, keep LEA focus in mind
  • NCES surveys
  • EDFacts update
  • RELs – keep that conversation going. Examples of successes from any REL (REL, LEA, SEA) – partnership presentations. Printed list of products they have finished or are currently working on.
  • FERPA update
  • Assessment Consortia
  • Small group discussions

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Policies, Programs and Implementation (PPI) Committee Meeting Summary


Monday, July 9, 2012

Afternoon Session

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Multi-State Longitudinal Data Exchange Update
Josh Klein (Oregon Department of Education) and Hans L'Orange (State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) shared an update MS PowerPoint (163 KB) on their WICHE work. WICHE's Multi-State Longitudinal Data Exchange is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and includes K-12, postsecondary, and labor representatives from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Hawaii. The four "big picture" questions it is hoping to address include: (1) How are former high school students performing in postsecondary education? (2) How are former high school students performing in the workforce? (3) How are former postsecondary students performing in the workforce? and (4) How are current and former workforce participants accessing formal education systems? Research questions embedded in the project relate to patterns of postsecondary enrollment and employment of high school graduates from each participating state as well as patterns of postsecondary enrollment and employment of students in public postsecondary institutions in participating states. WICHE partners are currently signing memoranda of agreement, submitting cohort and Social Security Number extractions, matching wage records, and refining data elements. The project is also working to build sustainable architecture, governance, and financing beyond the duration of the grant. Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) is being used as the starting point for the data elements and unique state circumstances must be addressed during this development phase.

Welcome and Introductions
PPI Chair Tom Howell (Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information) welcomed everyone to the Summer 2012 PPI meeting and led the group in introductions. 

Data Use and SEA Data Use Working Group Updates
Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) reported that the SEA Data Use Working Group completed work on the Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers:  A State Agency Perspective (http://nces.ed.gov/forum/pub_2012809.asp). The new guide targets both state education agencies (SEAs) and researchers, and it includes useful information for local education agencies (LEAs). The Data Use Working Group is currently developing three briefs focused on data use for decisionmaking. Drafts of the briefs will be reviewed by the Working Group over the summer and the group intends to release the resource as an online document in the fall.

P-20 Metrics/College and Career Readiness
John Kraman (Oklahoma State Department of Education) gave a presentation MS PowerPoint (398 KB) on his conceptual model for using P-20 performance indicators for the purpose of measuring outcomes over a student’s advancement throughout the P-20 experience—and then extending the concept through citizenship as well. John described his vision for a college, career, and citizenship indicator system that he is now developing in Oklahoma. Indicators can be used to identify students at risk of dropping out and to determine the probability of each student’s future success with regard to postsecondary goals. Indicators will be aligned with the University of Oklahoma’s new holistic admissions process, which focuses on academic preparation and performance; engagement, leadership, and others; and writing and self-expression. Next steps in the development of the indicator system include securing the requisite data, securing resources, identifying partners, completing analysis, developing tools, communicating with stakeholders, and eventually conducting multi-state comparisons. 

Winter 2012 PPI Meeting Review
Chair Tom Howell reviewed proceedings from PPI’s meeting at the Winter 2012 Forum and noted that updates were planned for several of the topics addressed during the Winter Forum. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morning Session

Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) Update

Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Resources
Alexandra Henning (Quality Information Partners) provided an overview of the PTAC website, resources, and services. PTAC offers assistance and training on topics related to data privacy and security. Resources available on the PTAC website (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/ptac/index.html) include webinars, briefs, and security checklists. Alexandra distributed copies of briefs and encouraged LEA representatives to attend a PTAC training session offered on Wednesday afternoon. Following the presentation, Kathleen Styles and Dale King of the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) joined Alexandra in answering questions and engaging PPI in a discussion of topics related to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). PPI members asked questions related to obtaining consent from parents for the use of data from after school programs and requests for data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Student Success Measures
Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) representatives Julie Kochanek (REL-Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI)) and Matt Dawson (REL Midwest) discussed research projects planned for their regions. Julie began with a presentation MS PowerPoint (437 KB) on REL-NEI work on student success indicators. REL-NEI serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Vermont. Research alliances are dedicated to research in four core priority areas: identifying and retaining effective teachers and principals; improving low-performing schools and districts; ensuring educational quality and supporting special populations; and increasing college and career readiness, access, and completion. Julie provided examples of alliance agendas and first year work plans, and discussed the process by which alliances develop goals, identify research questions, and share research via bridge events. Additional information about REL-NEI is available at http://www.relnei.org/

Matt Dawson provided an overview MS PowerPoint (281 KB) of the REL Midwest. One of REL Midwest’s goals is to build the capacity of SEAs and LEAs to use extant data and to institutionalize data use practices by the conclusion of the five year REL contract. REL Midwest is currently working with ten alliances that include SEA, LEA, and regional representatives. First year technical assistance plans for REL Midwest include partnering with a district to develop a system for monitoring intervention implementation fidelity; conducting workshops on an early warning tool; and assisting with literature reviews, data catalogs, and gap analyses. REL Midwest has also planned several research and evaluation projects. Additional information about REL Midwest is available at http://www.relmidwest.org/. PPI members were interested in cross-regional research, and Matt explained that there is an important balance—multi-state studies may not always be relevant for LEAs. 

Afternoon Session

National School Lunch Program Follow-up Discussion
Ross Santy and Lily Clark (U.S. Department of Education (ED)) joined Julie Brewer (and staff) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to follow upon their Monday general session presentation. PPI members noted that the use of the community eligibility option (CEO) has altered data on socio-economic status between schools using the CEO and those not using the CEO. Although the CEO was intended to simplify the free and reduced price meal (FRPM) application process and reduce burden, some states are experiencing increased burden because numerous programs have come to rely on counts of students who are FRPM eligible—in the joint session, Robert Rodosky provided a list of programs affected by changes in Kentucky. SEAs and LEAs would benefit from a list detailing how states are addressing the need for indicators of socio-economic status following changes to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The effect of changes on other elements, such as poverty percentages at the school level, should also be addressed. Increased messaging from ED and USDA on NSLP can help SEAs and LEAs plan ahead, and PPI members suggested that it would be good if reports from ED could flag states as they implement the CEO. 

EDFacts Update

Topics from the Floor
Jared Knowles (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) spoke about his interest in working with colleagues from other states to perform more advanced statistical analysis on education data. CEDS allows data conversations to cross states, and by using open-source statistical software, states can share code. He also encouraged states that employ vendors for statistical analysis to require vendors to use open source software and then to share the code with the education agency. The group suggested that the Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS) Share website (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/LDSShare/SLDS.aspx) might serve as a repository for states that wish to make their code available to others. 

John Kraman (Oklahoma State Department of Education) discussed his work in encouraging the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to assist with locating students who have moved to other states. He proposes using basic directory information mapped to Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) along with test taking information to develop a registry that can be used to find students who have moved. 

PPI Election
John Metcalfe (Fremont County School District #1 (WY)) was elected the PPI Vice Chair and Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) was elected PPI Chair for 2012-13.

National Center for Education Statistics Teacher Sampling

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Morning Session

Preparing and Documenting Data for Research Partners and In-House Analysis MS PowerPoint (799 KB)
DJ Cratty (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)) joined PPI to discuss preparing and documenting data for research partners and in-house analysis. Longitudinal data system (LDS) files are rarely the research-ready databases that education researchers expect when requesting data. Unlike ideal analysis datasets, longitudinal data systems often comprise separate files and data collection practices may vary widely at the local level. Data documentation can help researchers to use LDS data; more data information allows for more powerful analysis. Techniques for using LDS data for research can be found in the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Use Issue Briefs 2, 3, and 4, available at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/slds/. PPI members discussed establishing best practices or standards for education data documentation, including documentation requirements for researchers. 

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Assessment Consortia 
Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education) and Susan Van Gundy (Achieve), both representing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), joined PPI for discussions following the joint session on Tuesday afternoon. PPI members were concerned that considerable outreach needs to be done to involve and prepare SEAs and LEAs for the new assessments. Assessment consortia representatives were asked to encourage the state readiness coordinators to increase their communication with colleagues in each state. Wes and Susan noted that updates and discussion can be accessed by joining the online community at http://assess4ed.net/group/technology-readiness-tool-public-updates. Other useful websites include www.techreadiness.org and www.setda.org.

Steering Committee Business/Report
Chair Tom Howell shared a brief overview of Steering Committee issues, including

  • possible Forum involvement with the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Working Group;
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP) changes; and
  • identifying methods to encourage LEAs to submit comments on relevant Federal Register notices. 

Closing Thoughts
Tom Howell expressed his pleasure at the increased participation in PPI and noted the contributions made by new REL associates to the group. He thanked members for the opportunity to serve as PPI Chair. 

Meeting Review and Winter 2013 PPI Planning
PPI members discussed ways that the Forum could share information on topics such as comment periods for Federal Register notices, new information about RELs, and assessment consortia technology readiness tools. Members were interested in Steering Committee discussions regarding potential Forum-sponsored comment period response training for LEAs. 

Suggested topics for the Winter 2013meeting included:

  • Information from RELs similar to that provided by REL Northeast and Islands and REL Midwest at this meeting.
  • An update from Ross Santy on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waivers.
  • Information on data use and how data are released to researchers.
  • Updates on the Assessment Consortia.
  • Information on charter schools and best practices for collecting charter school data. 
  • Reporting difficulties related to virtual schools, possibly including a review of the Forum document, The Forum Guide to Elementary/Secondary Virtual Education
  • Forward-looking planning instead of reviews of existing projects. 

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Technology (TECH) Committee Meeting Summary

Monday, July 9, 2012

Afternoon Session

Welcome, Introductions, and Summer 2012 TECH Meeting Review
TECH Chair Peter Tamayo (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) welcomed everyone to the Summer 2012 TECH meeting, led the group in introductions, and reviewed proceedings from TECH's meeting at the Winter 2012 Forum.

Summer 2012 Agenda Review
Chair Peter Tamayo reviewed the agenda for TECH and opened the floor for suggestions to add items to the agenda. Tom Purwin (Jersey City Public Schools (NJ)) requested that TECH discuss requests from cable companies for students eligible to receive “free internet services” via a national Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. David Feliciano (Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (GA)) asked to add a discussion about cohort graduation rates.

Topic from the Floor: “Free” Services for Free and Reduced Price Meals (FRPM) Students
Tom Purwin (Jersey City Public Schools (NJ)) reported that two local cable companies were offering discounted internet services to students eligible for free and reduced price meals (FRPM). The companies were requesting data from the local education agency (LEA) to verify student/family eligibility (low income status), which Tom determined to be a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) violation. Jack Buckley (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)) replied that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approached NCES about whether they could get Common Core of Data (CCD) data to help establish a threshold for school-level eligibility. If, for example, families called from those schools that were 85 percent FRPM eligible, they could automatically be eligible to receive benefits. Jack said that NCES had not heard that LEAs were being approached directly. Tom thought that the companies wanted to be more proactive than waiting for calls from eligible families. David Feliciano (Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (GA)) said that his district will be sending an announcement about the program home with other FRPM correspondence. Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) pointed out that parents could authorize the release, but Jack noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may have opinions about such use of FRPM data. Jack also noted that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) needs a better metric than FRPM as a poverty indicator. Other unresolved questions about the program still exist. For example, what if there is more than one student in a household? Are there additional computers or more subsidies? Jack asked to receive a copy of the email and he will contact the FCC to further investigate the matter. Jack will follow up with the FCC to get more information as it relates to the federal perspective on this issue. Look for email through the TECH listserv.

Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) Update: Version 3, Race to the Top (RTTT), and Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF)
Jim Goodell (Quality Information Partners) and Larry Fruth (SIF Association) joined TECH to update the committee on the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) v3, the new work to support the Race to the Top Assessments, and how SIF will be releasing their next set of specifications to support all of CEDS. CEDS Version 3 will be released for public review in September 2012 with the final standard released in January, 2103. CEDS Version 3 will have a focus on early learning (policy question support, professional development, child outcomes, and federal alignment), K-12 (Common Core State Standards (CCSS)) assessment, teaching and learning, implementation support, and record exchange), postsecondary (Committee on Measures of Student Success (CMSS)), access, price/tuition, time to degree, Complete College America), and additional areas (workforce, career and technical education, and adult education). Additionally, the work now being developed to support the Race to the Top Assessments will be released in the fall; currently the documents developed for this task are on the home page of the CEDS website (https://ceds.ed.gov/). CEDS Connect, a tool that allows users to connect CEDS elements with policy questions, metrics, indicators, and federal collections, will be released in the next few months.  Finally, SIF 3.0, entitled “CEDS on the Wire” will be released to support the entire CEDS P-20 data model.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Multi-State Longitudinal Data Exchange Update

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morning Session

Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group Update

Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) Update

National School Lunch Program & Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waivers
Ross Santy and Lily Clark (ED) joined Julie Brewer (and staff) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to follow up on their Monday general session presentation. Julie noted that the purpose of the community eligibility option (CEO) was to simplify the FRPM application process/burden. TECH members pointed out that the loss of the FRPM flag will increase burden by requiring the development and implementation of alternative data on socio-economic status. Ross thought that the Forum would be a good mechanism for exploring alternative measures and that a Forum working group might be established for such a task. It was noted that the development of an “education” measure would not have the usage restrictions currently required for FRPM data (e.g., school principals and teachers being held accountable for improving low socio-economic status (SES) subgroup performance but not being allowed to know who is in the group).

P-20 Metrics/College and Career Readiness

Afternoon Session

Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Data Mining and Learning Analytics
Karen Cator (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology (OET)) visited TECH to discuss a wide range of cutting-edge topics in the field of education technology, including a May 2012 public review brief titled, Enhancing Teaching and Learning Through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics. She had just attended a “data jam” that addressed open content—how education can identify, tag (metadata), organize, and share open content with teachers, instructional specialists, and students. She asked how data at all levels of government (local education agencies, state education agencies, and ED) can be made useful to all stakeholders, which requires balancing accessibility with privacy. She noted that “My Data” buttons, which allow consumers to download their own data, are becoming the norm, so the education community will be expected to keep up on this front. TECH found the discussion to be especially thought provoking and invited Karen to present again at the Winter 2013 Forum in February.

Early Warning Systems
Brian Snow (Maine State Department of Education) described how his agency built an early warning system to make school-level staff aware of students in their buildings who are at-risk. Doing so required analysis of, and agreement on, the factors that suggested that a student was at-risk in Maine. Some of the factors incorporated in the Maine formula include: reading and writing performance; educational engagement (e.g., days absent); days suspended; age in ninth grade (over-age students have been shown to be at-risk); and special program participation, including English Language Learner (ELL), FRPM, and Special Education. These factors contribute to the establishment of a special “early warning flag” that is maintained securely in the data warehouse. It is displayed to need-to-know staff in the form of a simple red/yellow/green “gas gauge.” Staff in schools and districts can use this information to establish intervention plans for identified students. 

Tom Olson (South Carolina State Department of Education) reported that his state used 10 at-risk indicators to develop a South Carolina At-Risk Index. They include socio-economic status (SES) indicators (over-age, homeless, single parent, etc.), credits earned, assessment performance in math and language arts, discipline, and retention data. More broadly, South Carolina considers the ABCs of dropout prevention to include attendance, behavior, and credits earned. The South Carolina At-Risk Index is a weighted composite of these risk factors, which are reset each school year to raise awareness of current year risks rather than historical averages.

TECH Election
Laurel Krsek (Napa Valley Unified School District (CA)) was elected the TECH Chair and Jay Pennington (Iowa Department of Education) was elected TECH Vice Chair for 2012-13.

Washington State’s Total Cost of Ownership Study
Peter Tamayo (Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)) described his state’s total cost of ownership assessment, which collects verifiable information needed for decisions regarding information technology (IT) investments, projects, operations and performance throughout 41 state agencies in Washington. This project is utilizing the Gartner Group’s total Cost of Information (TCI) model to established five objectives: (1)collect and report the total cost of ownership (TCO) of IT; (2) compare reporting agencies’ TCO, cost structure, and productivity levels; (3) contrast the sum total of reporting agencies to similar organizations; (4) identify areas of risk and opportunities for improvement; and (5) use these data to track the impact of changes on performance. The OSPI hopes to use these results to secure additional funding for on-going maintenance and operation of its new Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) (from an Institute of Education Sciences (IES)/EDgrant). The Gartner framework will document TCO for the state education data systems (including IT and program area costs) as well as the value and benefit to the state. With Gartner’s assistance, OSPI will complete a 2013-15 Data Systems Budget Decision Package for consideration by the Washington State Legislature. For more information, visit http://www.ofm.wa.gov/tco/default.asp

EDFacts Update

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Morning Session

Bring Your Own Device
Vice Chair Laurel Krsek (Napa Valley Unified School District, CA) shared a presentation on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative at the Napa Valley Unified School District (CA). Napa is located 60 miles north of San Francisco and has 17,600 students in 32 schools (5 high schools, 4 middle schools, 23 elementary schools) across 252 square miles. The district has taken the approach that learning should be social–based (inquiry and discovery are enabled by new communication and collaboration tools), unlimited by physical boundaries, digitally rich with e-books and interactive media, and blended across both formal and informal settings. BYOD became necessary because of limited budgets as well as the need to expect personal adaptation and transformation as students become digital citizens with 21st Century learning skills. Moreover, more than 60 percent of parents in the district reported that they would purchase a mobile device for their child’s academic use at school. BYOD is currently implemented at two high schools and one middle school, each of which has completed a readiness assessment that describes its culture and instructional preparedness. There is no support for personally-owned devices, although the district does provide infrastructure/bandwidth, network access control, virtual/web desktops, and cloud apps and other device-agnostic resources. Schools implementing BYOD have seen a philosophical and cultural change with respect to instructional design and learning engagement, but there are numerous practical and policy issues that must be considered by organizations contemplating BYOD, including: acceptable use agreements, student-developed digital social contracts (e.g., I won’t take anyone else’s device), stakeholder awareness and understanding (e.g., board members, administrators, teachers, parents), and emerging technology and education trends.

Multi-State Data Exchange
Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education), Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), and Jay Pennington (Iowa Department of Education) provided a short overview of the work of the Midwest Education Information Consortium (MEIC). They reported growing success in their efforts to help schools identify students who are mobile within the region. Moreover, vendors are starting to build to the group’s needs. The SLDS State Support Team (SST) is helping with technology to accomplish this task (which is the easy part). Legal counsel from participating agencies are determining how to further enable this work without violating FERPA, which is proving to be a challenge. TECH members thought this would be a good topic for the Winter 2013 Meeting. We will include the Southeastern Consortium as well.

Assessment Consortia
Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education) and Susan Van Gundy (Achieve, Inc.), both representing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC), joined TECH for a discussion following the joint session on Tuesday afternoon. Points of discussion included:

  • The biggest difference between PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is that PARCC is not adaptive; it is a fixed form test (with many different copies but not adaptive). Students will take the open-ended tests a few weeks earlier than the machine-gradable tests to allow extra time for grading.
  • PARCC is open-ended. For example, it might show a clip from the Discovery Channel, an article from National Geographic, or some other prompt and then ask students to take a position in a written argument. Thus, students get scored on writing skill as well as content. Currently, most open-ended doesn’t score content.
  • Both tests will be aligned with the Common Core.
  • Both consortia will permit sharing of partial raw data, so it will be a state issue to decide whether it will share data across state borders if a student moves between the March and May testing windows.
  • The length of the testing window will depend on the technology of capacity of schools. For example, if two schools have the same number of students but one has half as many computers, then it will take at least twice as long to test. 
  • The readiness tool is available 24/7. States and districts are urged to use it to meet individual needs. For example, if you need information for your legislature, enter your data and get snapshot results on your own schedule.
  • Expect additional guidance on BYOD settings, but schools will be responsible for validating that BYOD devices will meet minimum standards just like they must do for school-supplied machines.
  • Will there need to be a secure browser on each machine?  It has to be secure, but it can be managed in many ways. For example, desktop machines can often be set to a secure kiosk mode.
  • Assessment architecture will utilize interoperability standards. There is still some effort, but this should streamline exchange uploading and downloading data.

Steering Committee Report
Chair Peter Tamayo shared a brief overview of Steering Committee issues, including a summary of the meeting with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) about the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) (which may result in more Forum involvement) as well as an update on NCES efforts to revise the Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) (2007) (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007341), which might also become a Forum Working Group.

Closing Thoughts
Peter Tamayo thanked TECH for his time as Chair, noting that he didn’t start his career in education and he had learned a lot through the Forum over the past few years.

Meeting Review and Winter 2013 TECH Planning
Suggested topics for the Winter 2013 meeting included:

  • Data Mining and Analysis (more depth)
  • Looking at technologies (Karen Cator from OET)
  • BYOD – more discussion of the pros and cons as well as planning and implementation issues
  • School lunch/measures of poverty – we discussed the problems, but not any solutions with respect to alternative measures. If there are alternatives, how will they work?  What are the practical implications?
  • Assessment consortia will continue to be of interest. 
  • Dynamic content/open content/open courseware/open resource metadata initiative (tagging content and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
  • Multi-State Data Exchange
  • “My Data” buttons
  • “Data jam”
  • Apps4VA.org
  • Early learning initiatives

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Closing Session MS PowerPoint (1.1 MB)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NCES Update MS PowerPoint (2.05 MB)
Jack Buckley, Commissioner of NCES, joined the Forum to provide an update on NCES activities, focusing on Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grants and Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) Version 3.

  • SLDS Grants: Priority areas targeted for the 2012-2013 SLDS grant competition included K-12 data systems, early childhood, and postsecondary and/or workforce data. A focus on data use was incorporated into each of the three priority areas. Nine grants were awarded for the K-12 priority, one for early childhood, and fourteen for postsecondary/workforce. Eight states were first-time SLDS grant recipients.
  • CEDS: CEDS Version 3 work focused on improving and broadening three content areas: Early Learning, K-12, and Postsecondary. Topics addressed within early learning included assessment, professional development, federal alignment, and quality ratings. K-12 topics included supporting teaching and learning initiatives and assessments, including Race to the Top assessments. Postsecondary topics included the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), teacher education, college readiness, and common data sets. CEDS Align has been used by a variety of stakeholders including public, federal, association, and vendor stakeholders, but it is most often used by K-12 and Postsecondary stakeholders. CEDS Align users are also increasingly publishing CEDS Align maps. The CEDS Connect tool builds on CEDS Align and provides stakeholders with the improved ability to generate maps. CEDS Version 3 is scheduled for release in January 2013. Jack noted that the Forum had an important role in providing the groundwork for CEDS and participating in CEDS-related groups and events. Forum members will continue to be important advocates of CEDS as new action items are developed.

Working Group Updates Working Group Chairs provided updates on Sunday's meetings:

  • Lee Rabbitt (Newport Public Schools (RI)) reported that the Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group is developing an online document that will include an introduction to teacher-student data links, use cases with checklists, a discussion of emerging uses of the link, and appendices with resources and templates for implementing the link. The goal of the group is to have a document for release by the end of the year.
  • Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) reported that the School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group is preparing to update the 2007 NCES document, Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) (available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/pub_2007341.asp). This new group met prior to the Forum to discuss the scope of the project and to hear feedback from organizations that have suggested revisions to SCED codes. The group discussed the SCED code framework, change management processes, and best practices for using SCED codes. Results of the meeting will be reported to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Standing Committee Progress Reports

Recognition of Forum Officers
The Forum thanked the 2011-2012 Officers for their service, and presented them with plaques.

Forum Election
The slate of proposed 2012-2013 officers was presented for a vote. The slate was seconded and then the Forum voted to approve the following members as 2012-2013 officers:

Chair: Tom Ogle, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Vice Chair: Lee Rabbitt, Newport Public Schools (RI)
Past Chair: David Weinberger, Yonkers Public Schools (NY)
NESAC Chair: Raymond Martin, Connecticut State Department of Education
NESAC Vice Chair: Allen Miedema, Northshore School District (WA)
PPI Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
PPI Vice Chair: John Metcalfe, Fremont County School District #1 (WY)
TECH Chair: Laurel Krsek, Napa Valley Unified School District (CA)
TECH Vice Chair: Jay Pennington, Iowa Department of Education

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Closing
David expressed his appreciation for his tenure as Forum Chair and thanked Forum members and individuals who supported the work of the Forum over the past year. He noted that national conversations on data initiatives are progressing and the work of the Forum is timely and relevant.

In his opening comments as the Forum Chair, Tom Ogle stated that this a time of change for the Forum, with greater resources and opportunities for collaboration with groups such as USDA and the RELs. He welcomed the ideas of both new and old members and expressed his excitement for the future of the Forum.

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Steering Committee

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Communications Subcommittee
Forum Chair David Weinberger (Yonkers Public Schools (NY)) welcomed members of the committee. This meeting of the Communications Subcommittee was convened to discuss the agenda for Monday's Steering Committee meeting with representatives of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). David agreed to open the meeting with a welcome message and then to devote time for OCR representatives to speak about the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Laurel Krsek (Napa Valley Unified School District (CA)) agreed to present local education agency (LEA) perspectives on the CRDC, Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) would speak about state education agency (SEA) perspectives, and Ray Martin (Connecticut Department of Education) would speak about the perspective of the National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday Review
Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) reported on the Sunday meetings of the Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group and the School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group. The Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group is now refining a draft of the Forum Guide to the Teacher Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Guide. This will be a web document (not printed or bound), and it is anticipated to be released for Forum review in the fall. The SCED Working Group is preparing to update the 2007 NCES document, Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) (available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/pub_2007341.asp). This new group met prior to the Forum to discuss the scope of the project and to hear feedback from organizations that have suggested revisions to SCED codes. The group discussed the SCED code framework, change management processes, and best practices for using SCED codes. Results of the meeting will be reported to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Review of Monday's Events
Forum Chair David Weinberger (Yonkers Public Schools (NY)) led a review of Monday's Steering Committee meeting with representatives of the OCR regarding the CRDC. The meeting was successful in raising issues for consideration and it provided Steering Committee members with a better understanding of the goals of the OCR in conducting the CRDC. Members were concerned that time constraints prevented participants from hearing and discussing OCR Chief of Staff John DiPaolo's questions. One suggestion from the meeting was for the CRDC Working Group to become a Forum Working Group. Steering Committee members noted that Forum Working Groups need to have a set purpose or goal. Ghedam will speak with OCR representatives to determine what the expectations would be for the CRDC Working Group if it were transitioned to the Forum. The Steering Committee will then decide whether to adopt the Working Group based on the information provided by OCR.

The New Member Orientation session went well, but low attendance was an issue. Increased outreach to new members may help to improve orientation attendance. Committee members were pleased with the professional development session on the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) and noted that the audience interaction portion of the presentation was appreciated. John Easton's welcoming message to the Forum was well-received, and members also learned more about Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) from Ruth Neild's remarks. Roundtable discussions with RELs raised questions about the Forum's role in facilitating communication between RELs and the state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) in their regions. The Forum's email newsletter, the Items of Note, may be a method of sharing information on RELs with Forum members. Ghedam will speak with Ruth about putting REL information, such as the dates of needs assessments, in the Forum Items of Note.

Chairs then reported on Standing Committee time. National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) members appreciated updates on Version 3 of CEDS and the work of the Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group. Kathy Chandler of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) solicited advice from NESAC on teacher sampling, which led to a group discussion. Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) members received an update on a Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) data exchange project, which has been an ongoing topic of interest at PPI meetings. In addition, Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) provided an update on the Data Use and SEA Data Use Working Groups, and John Kraman (Oklahoma State Department of Education) discussed P-20 metrics in PPI. Technology Committee (TECH) members appreciated updates on CEDS and information on the WICHE data exchange, and also held a discussion with NCES Commissioner Jack Buckley on the topic of cable companies offering reduced prices to economically disadvantaged students.

Other Issues
Committee Chairs were prepared to lead elections on Tuesday. Ghedam Bairu (NCES) reminded members that the Forum is a collaborative effort that spans federal, state, and local levels.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review of Tuesday's Events
Committee members agreed that the presentation on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was very informative, and that more information will be needed about the use of free and reduced price meal (FRPM) data. Ghedam will invite Julie Brewer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to join the Forum as a federal member. Marilyn Seastrom (NCES) provided a good perspective on lessons learned with regard to data quality, although her presentation was more relevant for SEAs than LEAs.

Chairs then reported on standing committee time. Marilyn Seastrom's presentation on data quality provided a good background to TECH's discussion with Karen Cator (U.S. Department of Education (ED)) on the topic of enhancing teaching and learning through data mining and learning analytics. In addition, TECH members heard from representatives of two states on the topic of descriptive analytics. PPI members appreciated the opportunity to meet Dale King of the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) and were pleased with an overview of Privacy and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) resources. PPI also had the opportunity to speak with Ross Santy (ED) about the NSLP and EdFacts. NESAC highlights included a follow-up discussion with presenters about the NSLP, a committee-led discussion about college and career readiness, and a presentation from DJ Cratty (NCES) on the topic of data analysis.

Action Items
In his presentation to NESAC, Ross Santy noted that he would like Forum input on determining how to address the need for data on economically disadvantaged students. NESAC suggested assembling a Forum Working Group on the issue. ED is currently developing a white paper, which will inform the decision as to whether the Forum should assemble a Working Group.

Sonya expressed an interest in offering Forum assistance to help LEAs become more involved in submitting comments during the public comment period for federal data collections such as EdFacts.

Steering Committee members also discussed the role of the Forum in promoting quality data, and suggested that the Forum may wish to produce a resource on best practices for editing data. Questions arose regarding whether it should be a general guide to editing data, or a specific guide to Common Core of Data (CCD). Ghedam will discuss the topic with Marilyn.

All committees reported the results of their elections. Proposed Chairs and Vice Chairs for the 2012-2013 year are as follows:
NESAC Chair: Raymond Martin, Connecticut State Department of Education
NESAC Vice Chair: Allen Miedema, Northshore School District (WA)
PPI Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
PPI Vice Chair: John Metcalfe, Fremont County School District #1 (WY)
TECH Chair: Laurel Krsek, Napa Valley Unified School District (CA)
TECH Vice Chair: Jay Pennington, Iowa Department of Education

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome to New Steering Committee Members
Newly-elected Chair Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) welcomed new Steering Committee members to the meeting.

Review of Wednesday Events
TECH Chair Laurel Krsek noted that she appreciated the fact that different topics were addressed in each Standing Committee. PPI Chair Sonya Edwards noted that more time is needed for presenters to travel between sessions, and she expressed the concern that it is difficult to have in-depth discussion with a full agenda. PPI members would like more discussion time for new issues and future planning, instead of presentations on ongoing topics. NESAC Chair Ray Martin added that it is difficult to plan for the future when ongoing topics need to be revisited. Laurel suggested that the Forum could engage in webinars between Forum meetings to address ongoing topics of interest. PPI members were interested in a webinar to assist LEAs with commenting on Federal Register notices. Sonya and Ghedam will work together to plan the webinar.

Lee Rabbitt recommended inviting Karen Cator (ED) as a joint session speaker for the Winter 2013 Forum.

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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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