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The Forum Voice: Fall 2006 (Volume 9, No. 2)


Contents

Editorial Board
New 2006 Forum Publications
New Forum Web Resources
Forum Task Force Updates
NCES Fellows Program
NCES Newsflash — Your Link to NCES News
Winter 2007 Forum Meeting and NCES MIS Conference in Atlanta
Upcoming Events
2006-2007 Forum Officers
Newsletter Information
Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice

Editorial Board

Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
Linda Rocks, Bossier Parish Schools (LA)
Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education
Kathy Gosa, Kansas State Department of Education
Ghedam Bairu, National Center for Education Statistics


New 2006 Forum Publications


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Forum Guide to Decision Support Systems: A Resource for Educators—The Decision Support System Literacy Task Force released the Forum Guide to Decision Support Systems: A Resource for Educators in September 2006. The document was developed to remedy the lack of reliable, objective information available to the education community about decision support systems. It is hoped that it will help readers better understand what decision support systems are, how they are configured, how they operate, and how they might be implemented in an education institution.

   
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Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information: A Resource for Schools— This Forum publication is the product of the FERPA Toolkit Action Plan Team sponsored by the Forum's Policies, Procedures, and Implementation (PPI) Committee. It was written to help school and local education agency staff better understand and apply the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects privacy interests of parents and students in student education records. As such, it defines terms such as "education records" and "directory information" and offers guidance for developing appropriate privacy policies and information disclosure procedures related to military recruiting, parental rights and annual notification, videotaping, online information, media releases, surveillance cameras, and confidentiality concerns related specifically to health-related information.

   
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Forum Guide to Elementary/Secondary Virtual Education—The Virtual/Distance Education Task Force produced this document to align, modify, and develop definitions of "traditional" education data elements to better meet the information and reporting needs unique to the virtual education learning environment. The document also provides recommendations for collecting accurate, comparable, and useful data about virtual education in an elementary/secondary education setting. As such, it highlights specific data elements related to the delivery, management, and oversight of virtual education. It also presents policy considerations related to managing information about virtual education and illustrates how complex issues related to virtual education data play out in a real-world setting. The project was a collaborative effort among Forum members, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA).

   
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Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes—This "best practice" guide presents an exhaustive and mutually exclusive exit code taxonomy that accounts, at any single point in time, for all students enrolled (or previously enrolled) in a particular school or district. It is based on exit code systems in use in state education agencies across the nation and a thorough review of existing literature on the subject. The document also reviews common challenges and good practices to collecting exit codes data, as well a how to distinguish among common high school completion credentials awarded throughout the nation.

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New Forum Web Resources

Two new resources have been added to the Forum website:

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http://nces.ed.gov/forum/data_modeling.asp—This page presents three papers about developing a comprehensive PK-12 data model, as prepared by the Schools Interoperability Framework Association under contract to the National Center for Education Statistics. These papers serve as background materials for the Forum's new PK-12 Data Model Task Force.

   
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http://nces.ed.gov/forum/fed_register.asp—This page presents guidance about using the Federal Register, the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations. It also highlights recent notices posted to the Federal Register that may be of particular interest to Forum members.

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Forum Task Force Updates


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Data Quality Curriculum Task Force
The Data Quality Curriculum Task Force is developing a training tool for staff professional development based on the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data. The task force expects to produce multiple frameworks, lesson plans, and instructional materials for local education agencies to use during staff development activities. These resources are expected to be available by February 2007. For more information about the progress of the Data Quality Curriculum Task Force, visit http://nces.ed.gov/forum/data_quality_curr.asp.

   
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PK-12 Data Model Task Force
The PK-12 Data Model Task Force was officially formed at the Summer 2006 Forum Meeting. It is charged with developing a conceptual and logical education data model that focuses on teaching, learning, and school district operations. These models will include data elements, categories of data elements, education processes, definitions and semantics, and relationships among data elements. The task force will also develop a methodology for utilizing, maintaining, and sharing information about the data model so that it will have maximum utility for stakeholders. For more information about the progress of the PK-12 Data Model Task Force, visit http://nces.ed.gov/forum/pk12_data_model.asp.

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NCES Fellows Program

The NCES Cooperative System Fellows Program is a week-long training and technical assistance program delivered onsite at NCES for approximately 30 local/state/higher education/library participants each year. During the week, NCES Fellows attend a series of activities and presentations by NCES staff on some of the Center's major data collections, such as the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), and the Common Core of Data (CCD). Other staff report on dissemination practices, projects to automate local and state education data systems, and efforts to integrate existing data collections. Time is also set aside for Fellows to explore their own professional interests and objectives.

Participation in the NCES Cooperative System Fellows Program is open to state and local school district staff in elementary/secondary education, state personnel for postsecondary education, and staff from all types in libraries. There is no registration fee. NCES provides air travel and housing for Fellows, and reimburses meals and other expenses at the Federal per diem rate.

The next Fellows Program is scheduled for November 13-17, 2006. Information about the Fellows Program is e-mailed to state, higher education, and library agencies and institutions six weeks before applications are due, although individuals may also applying at http://nces.ed.gov/whatsnew/conferences/confinfo.asp?confid=10.

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NCES Newsflash — Your Link to NCES News

News Flash is a subscription service designed to help anyone with an email address find out about NCES news. It is a "custom" service, meaning that users can self-select topics of interest, including NCES publications, conferences and workshops, web applications, data products, and program and survey areas (e.g., Adult Literacy, Common Core of Data, Crime and Safety, Education Finance, Longitudinal Studies, Library Statistics, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, National Forum on Education Statistics activities, and Postsecondary Education). Whenever there is new information about an interest area, subscribers receive an email alert, including a short description of the news and a link to relevant pages on the NCES website. Anyone with an email address can subscribe to News Flash by visiting the NCES News Flash.

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Winter 2007 Forum Meeting and NCES MIS Conference in Atlanta

The Winter 2007 Forum Meeting and NCES MIS Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia during the week of February 26-March 2, 2007. In addition to task force and standing committee business, the meeting will serve as a venue for discussing a host of other education data and technology issues facing schools, school districts, state education agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education. Visit the NCES Conference/Training Connection to register for the meetings, review logistical information, and download the conference brochure.

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Upcoming Events

Winter 2007 Forum Meeting * Atlanta, GA * February 26-27, 2007 *
Ghedam Bairu

NCES 2007 MIS Conference * Atlanta, GA * February 28-March 2, 2007 *
Mary McCrory

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2006-2007 Forum Officers


Forum Chair: Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education
Vice Chair:  Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
Past Chair: Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (SD)
Staff:   Ghedam Bairu, NCES
   
NESAC Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
Vice Chair:     Linda Rocks, Bossier Parish Schools (LA)
Staff: Tolani Adeboye, CCSSO
   
PPI Chair: Robert Beecham, Nebraska Department of Education
Vice Chair:    Levette Williams, Georgia Department of Education
Staff:    Beth Young, QIP
 
TECH Chair: Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education
Vice Chair:   Kathy Gosa, Kansas State Department of Education
Staff: Andy Rogers and Tom Szuba, QIP

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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

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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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