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The Forum Voice: Fall 2004 (Volume 7, No. 2)


Contents

Letter from Forum Chair Blair Loudat
New Forum Members
Popular Forum Publications
The Forum in Action: Current Task Forces
New Task Force! The Forum Tackles Virtual/Distance Education
Improving Forum Communications through Listservs
New Orleans to Host 2005 MIS Conference and Winter Forum Meeting
Upcoming Events
2004-2005 Forum Officers
Newsletter Information
Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice

Editorial Board

Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (SD)
David Uhlig, Charlottesville City Public Schools (VA)
Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
Bertha Doar, Rockwood School District (MO)
Ghedam Bairu, National Center for Education Statistics

Letter from Forum Chair Blair Loudat

I am extremely honored to have been elected chairperson of the Forum for the 2004-2005 year. At every Forum meeting I have attended since I joined the organization in 1998, I have been impressed by the dedication and diligence our Forum chairs have demonstrated. Thank you for your confidence.

During the 2004-2005 Forum year, we will face a number of challenges and opportunities, both as educators and as members of the National Forum on Education Statistics. We will see refinements in the Performance-Based Data Management Initiative (PBDMI) and the expansion of the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN). We will continue to see advances from the School Information Partnership and the Decision Support Architecture Consortium , and the Schools Interoperability Framework will expand its influence on those who provide and use education data.

As these efforts progress, the issue of data silos and data islands will become more noticeable in state and local education agencies. It is no longer practical to isolate program or special population data from information about other students. In order for data generated at the state and national levels to be of the highest quality we, as Forum members, need to convey and reinforce the message of program data integration to our local and state education agency colleagues.

As most of us have already realized, the issue of Virtual Education is having a substantial impact on education across the country. I believe that it will continue to influence the nature of public education in the future. As the work of the Virtual/Distance Education Task Force moves forward to align “traditional” and “virtual education” data elements, related topics that demand our attention are likely to emerge as well. As Forum members, we have the opportunity and responsibility to help to define and clarify these new issues as they arise.

Our work as Forum members is important—it affects both our daily work and the national perception of education data. In a meeting with the Steering Committee, and again at the opening session of the NCES Summer Data Conference, Dr. Bob Lerner (Commissioner of NCES) emphasized that while the Forum supports the work of the National Center for Education Statistics, it has other key roles as well: to focus on best practices and the collaborative federal-state-local data partnership.

In closing, I would like to issue a challenge to the members of our Forum. If every one of you were to introduce at least one colleague or organization to our work and the resources we have developed as a Forum, it would represent a huge step toward making the National Forum on Education Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics “household words” in the education community. Let’s give it a try!

See you all in New Orleans on February 25, 2005.

Blair Loudat

North Clackamas Schools (Oregon) &
2004-2005 Chair of the National Forum on Education Statistics

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New Forum Members

The Forum would like to welcome the following new members who attended the Summer 2004 Meeting. We look forward to seeing them again at the Winter 2005 Forum Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 21-23, 2005.

Karen Banks, Wake County Public School System (NC)
Chuck Berridge, Capistrano Unified School District (CA)
Hank Bounds, Pascagoula School District (MS)
Anne Brinson, Indiana Department of Education
Nancy Burke, Emerado Public Schools (ND)
Jane Cobia, Sylacauga City Schools (AL)
Kathleen Crain, Arkansas Department of Education
Bruce Dacey, Delaware Department of Education
Jennifer Dozier, U.S. Department of Education - Office of Migrant Education
Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
Patricia Eiland, Alabama Department of Education
Bettie Estes-Rickner, Putnam City Schools (OK)
Larry Fruth, Schools Interoperability Framework
Robert Gerrity, Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency (MI)
Edward Giroux, Rhode Island Department of Education
Mary K. Hervey DeGarmo, Brooke County Schools (WV)
Rita Howard, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education
Kay Ihlenfeldt, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Brian O’Leary, Kodiak Island Borough School District (AK)
Jan Rose Petro, Colorado Department of Education
Lee Rabbitt, Bristol Warren Regional School District (RI)
Shawn Snyder, Iowa Department of Education
David Walddon, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Bonnie Wilkerson, Northbrook Illinois School District 27 (IL)
Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education
Brian Wilmot, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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Popular Forum Publications

Three Forum publications were included in a list of the twenty-five “Most Downloaded Documents” at NCES in August 2004. Together, the three documents accounted for 1.1% of the total number of PDF files downloaded from the NCES site during the reporting window.

#10. Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information
#11. Technology in Schools: Suggestions, Tools and Guidelines for Assessing Technology in Elementary and Secondary Education
#20. Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities

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The Forum in Action: Current Task Forces

The Forum is currently developing resources on a variety of issues that affect the education data community.

  • Education Indicators – The Education Indicators Task Force plans to publish the Forum Guide to Education Indicators by the end of 2004. The document is intended to help readers better understand how to appropriately develop, apply, and interpret education indicators. More specifically, it strives to promote commonly accepted definitions and calculations for education indicators, identify common misuse of education indicators, and describe the appropriate role of indicators as tools for measuring educational status and progress. The Guide contains an encyclopedia-type alphabetical list of common education indicators. Each indicator entry includes a definition, a recommended use, a policy question, caveats and cautions, additional information, related indicators, data element components, a formula, commonly reported subgroups, and display suggestions. The Education Indicators Task Force convened for the last time at the Summer 2004 Forum meeting. For more information about the progress of the Forum Guide to Education Indicators, visit the Education Indicators Task Force page.
  • Education Finance – The Education Finance Task Force is in the process of developing The Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements to accompany and support Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems: 2003 Edition (also known as The Finance Handbook that was completed November 2003). The Guide identifies and describes a range of finance data elements needed for basic education reporting and management purposes. It also includes recommendations for combining finance data elements to create commonly used education finance indicators. A first draft of the Guide is expected to be available by spring 2005. The task force hopes to complete its charge later in 2005. For more information, visit the Education Finance Task Force page.
  • Exit Codes – The Exit Codes Task Force is producing a document that examines issues related to the collection and reporting of data on students who complete or leave an education system. More specifically, Tracking Dropouts and Completers offers best-practice guidance for establishing student-level exit codes in local and state education agencies. It also includes crosswalks of commonly used exit codes to a national model. The task force is currently drafting sections of the publication and finalizing the crosswalk codes.  It hopes to produce a final draft for Forum review and approval by February 2005. For more information, visit the Exit Codes Task Force page.
  • Guidelines for Data Quality – The Data Quality Task Force has completed the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource , which is undergoing final pre-publication review, design, and layout and is expected to be available by the end of 2004. The document focuses on data entry at the school level, where most education data are initially generated. In an effort to provide tangible guidance, the document contains “tip sheets” for each type of job in a school or district that might influence data collection and management, including: t he role of the principal, the role of the teacher, the role of office staff, the role of the school board member, the role of the superintendent, the role of the data steward or coordinator, and the role of technology support personnel. For more information about the work of the Data Quality Task Force and the production status of Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource, visit the the Data Quality Task Force page.

For more information, visit Forum Current Projects.

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New Task Force! The Forum Tackles Virtual/Distance Education

Education is changing. Among other factors driving these changes is the introduction of technology to facilitate instruction over time and space (i.e., “virtual” or “distance” education). Education data are critical for evaluating the quality and outcomes of this new type of instruction, but traditional definitions of common education data elements do not always match the operational needs and circumstances of virtual education. In response to this issue, the Forum established a Virtual/Distance Education Task Force at the Summer 2004 Forum Meeting. The overarching purpose of this project is to align, modify, and develop definitions of “traditional” education data elements to meet the information and reporting needs unique to the virtual/distance education learning environment. The task force expects to develop a kit (e.g., a matrix) that recommends how traditional data elements can be modified to reflect a virtual education/distance learning environment. It will also raise questions that policy makers will want to consider before collecting and reporting data about their virtual classes and schools. Work on this task is expected to last until summer 2005. For more information, visit the Virtual/Distance Education Task Force page.

Forum Partners with SETDA

The work of the Virtual/Distance Education Task Force represents a formal partnership between the Forum and the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). SETDA was founded in the fall of 2001 and joined the Forum as an associate member in 2003. Its members include educational technology directors and staff from the state departments of education of all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. SETDA members work in committees, subcommittees, and taskforces to assess, analyze, and propose recommendations on how to improve student learning through technology. SETDA has chosen “Virtual Learning” as the theme for its 2004 National Leadership Institute, which will be attended by both Forum and NCES representatives. For more information about SETDA, visit http://www.setda.org.

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Improving Forum Communications through Listservs

Listserv addresses have been established for all Forum committees, task forces, and member groups (i.e., state and local education agency representatives). Access to these powerful communications tools is limited to officially registered members of a group’s listserv. To access a task force, committee, or other Forum group on WebBoard, the website that tracks Forum listserv discussions, go to the WebBoard site and enter your username and password (available from Susan Rittenhouse). For more information about how to use WebBoard or how to use the listserv addresses without using WebBoard, visit the Forum WebBoard Instructions.

Active Forum Listerv addresses

Group Name
Listserv Address
Core Finance Data Task Force FinanceTF@esharecentral.com
Data Quality Task Force DATAQUALITY@esharecentral.com
Decision Support Literacy Working Group DSLITERACY@esharecentral.com
El/Sec Steering Committee ELSECSTEER@esharecentral.com
Exit Codes Task Force EXITCODES@esharecentral.com
Forum Members FORUMMEMBERS@esharecentral.com
Local Education Agency Liaisons (LEAs) LEA@esharecentral.com
National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) Standing Committee NESAC@esharecentral.com
New Forum Members 2004 NEWMEMBERS2004@esharecentral.com
Performance Indicators PINDICATORS@esharecentral.com
Policies, Programs and Implementation
(PPI) Standing Committee
PPI@esharecentral.com
State Education Agency Liaisons (SEAs) SEA@esharecentral.com
Technology (TECH) Standing Committee TDC@esharecentral.com
Virtual Education Task Force VIRTUALEDUCATION@esharecentral.com

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New Orleans to Host 2005 MIS Conference and Winter Forum Meeting

The Louisiana Department of Education is joining the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to co-sponsor the 18th Annual MIS Conference on February 23-25, 2005 in New Orleans. The Winter 2005 Forum Meeting will precede the MIS Conference on Monday and Tuesday, February 21-22. As always, the week promises to offer unparalleled opportunities to share information about high profile data issues and cutting edge technology use in schools, school districts, and state departments of education. Meeting registration and logistics for both the MIS Conference and the Winter Forum Meeting can be found at the NCES Conference/Training Connection.

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Upcoming Events Contact
NCES Fellows
Washington, DC * November 1-5, 2004
Mary McCrory
Winter 2005 Forum Meeting
New Orleans, LA * February 21-23, 2005
Ghedam Bairu
18th Annual MIS Conference
New Orleans, LA * February 23-25, 2005
Mary McCrory

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2004-2005 Forum Officers


Forum Chair:   Blair Loudat, North Clackamas Schools (OR)
Vice Chair:   Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (SD)
Past Chair:   Bethann Canada, Virginia Department of Education
Staff:   Ghedam Bairu, NCES
NESAC Chair:  

Brad James, Vermont Department of Education

Vice Chair:   David Uhlig, Charlottesville City Public Schools (VA)
Staff:   Deborah Newby, CCSSO
PPI Chair:   Nancy Resch, New Jersey Dept. of Education
Vice Chair:   Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
Staff:   Ghedam Bairu, NCES
TECH Chair:   Derrick Lindsay , Mississippi Department of Education
Vice Chair:   Bertha Doar, Rockwood School District (MO)
Staff:        Andy Rogers, ESSI

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Newsletter Information

The Forum Voice is released as an electronic publication. To subscribe, visit the NCES News Flash.

To contact the Forum, e-mail Ghedam Bairu, fax: (202) 502-7475, or write: NCES-Forum, 1990 K Street, NW, Room 9095, Washington, DC 20006-5651.

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Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice

 Previous Page

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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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