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The Forum Voice: Winter 2013 (Volume 15, No. 2)


In This Issue:

Editorial Board
New and Upcoming Resources
Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective
Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data
Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Guide
From the Archives—Forum Guide to Data Ethics (2010)
Forum Activities and Outreach
Forum Items of Note
Forum WebEx Events
New Forum Working Groups
School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group
LEA Data Access for Researchers Working Group
Alternative SES Measure Working Group
Updates and Events
Summer 2012 Meeting Recap
Winter 2013 Meeting Information
2012-2013 Forum Officers
Newsletter Information
Links to Past Issues of the Forum Voice


Editorial Board

Lee Rabbitt, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Allen Miedema, Northshore School District (WA)
John Metcalfe, Fremont County School District #1 (WY)
Jay Pennington, Iowa Department of Education
Ghedam Bairu, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education

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New and Upcoming Forum Resources

Forum members establish working groups to develop best practice resources in data-related areas of interest to federal, state, and local education agencies. All Forum publications are free and can be accessed electronically at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/publications.asp.

Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective

Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective This Forum guide was recently re-released with a forward from John Easton, Director of the Institute of Education Sciences. In his letter to readers, Dr. Easton noted that the resource will assist in "developing and sustaining more productive partnerships" between researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. The guide reflects the collaborative efforts of the Forum and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) at the U.S. Department of Education. It includes core practices for effectively managing data requests that can be adopted and adapted by education agencies that engage in voluntary data sharing with researchers. The guide is written from a state education agency (SEA) perspective and includes templates that are based on current practices used by SEAs and national organizations. Information included in the guide is also intended to benefit members of the research community who submit data requests to education agencies.

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Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data

Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data This new resource is intended to provide information on the skillful and appropriate use of education data. It begins with an introduction that discusses the evolving nature of data use, basic data use concepts, a list of skills necessary for effectively using data, and a conceptual model of the cycle of data use. Following the introduction, a series of briefs discuss education data use among different stakeholder audiences: educators, school and district leaders, and state program staff. Each brief is designed to present an overview of data use that is applicable to these stakeholders in their real-world work.



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Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Guide

Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Guide The Teacher-Student Data Link Working Group developed a best practice guide for state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) implementing teacher-student data links. The guide addresses components of the link, use cases, and ways to overcome implementation challenges. It builds on existing work and offers practical information, with a substantial focus on LEA implementation of the link. Look for the publication of this resource on the Forum website in the near future.

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From the Archives—Forum Guide to Data Ethics (2010)

Forum Guide to Data Ethics Ethics establish the fundamental principles of "right and wrong" that are critical to the appropriate use of education data. The Forum has developed two resources to support the ethical use of education data: The Forum Guide to Data Ethics and the Forum Guide to Data Ethics Online Course.

The Forum Guide to Data Ethics presents a code of ethics for data management in education settings. It begins with an overview of the importance of establishing ethical standards to guide the management and use of education data, including steps that education agencies can implement to promote and ensure ethical conduct. The guide then explains the Forum Code of Data Ethics, which includes nine canons that address integrity, data quality, and security. Recommendations included in the guide can supplement existing data ethics policies or serve as a template for education agencies creating new policies. Information presented in the guide is based on the knowledge and judgment of experienced data managers, and the canons, examples, descriptions, and recommendations reflect situations that arise in real education agencies. The Forum Code of Data Ethics is intended as a resource Forum Guide to Data Ethics for education agencies, and although it encompasses a wide range of ethical considerations and scenarios, it is not a comprehensive guide to all ethical issues facing educators.

The Forum Guide to Data Ethics Online Course is based on the Forum Guide to Data Ethics. The course includes an online test, and individuals who pass receive a certificate. Since the creation of the course, 356 individuals from SEAs and LEAs, universities, and private educational organizations have successfully completed the course and received certificates.

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Forum Activities and Outreach

Forum Items of Note

Forum Items of NoteThe Forum Items of Note is a short newsletter that summarizes recent U.S. Department of Education news items, Federal Register notices, and topics of interest in national education news for Forum members. This resource is intended to provide a short overview of current issues of importance and emerging topics that are likely to affect the education data environment in which the Forum and its members work. The newsletter is sent to Forum members via email twice each month, with links to more in-depth information on each topic. Content for the Items of Note is determined by Forum activities and interests. Recent newsletters have included information from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), and important notices on comment submission periods for federal information collection activities.

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Forum WebEx Events

The Forum is increasingly conducting outreach to members and outside organizations through the use of web conferencing.

  • On July 31, 2012, the Forum hosted a WebEx on the topic of Data Sharing and Access with Allen Ruby of the Policy and Systems Division, National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Kathy Gosa of the Kansas State Department of Education began the WebEx with an overview of the new Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective. Allen then led a presentation on IES research and evaluation grants that can be used for analyzing state and local education data. Allen encouraged Forum members to access more information on grants at http://ies.ed.gov/funding and to consider submitting proposals to the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (www.sree.org).
  • On October 9, 2012, members of the Forum Steering Committee met with representatives of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to discuss the collection of arts education data. The NEA is interested in identifying what arts education data are currently collected as well as opportunities for standardizing the collection of arts education data. Forum Steering Committee members offered information on the types of data and methods of data collection used in state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) and recommended resources including Forum publications and Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant program resources.
  • On November 27, 2012, the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) project presented an informational webinar on the Assessment Interoperability Framework (AIF) at the request of the Forum Steering Committee. The AIF is an educational technology and assessment standard that includes a high-level interoperability architecture for an assessment platform, information on how the assessment platform integrates with the broader education systems enterprise, and the identification of cross-standard interoperability alignments or transformations necessary for data and content to flow through the assessment platform and to other consuming or providing systems. Jill Abbott (Abbott Advisor Group) provided an overview of the AIF, discussed AIF components, and answered Forum member questions. More information is available at https://ceds.ed.gov/aif.aspx.

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New Forum Working Groups

School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group

New Forum Working Groups Education agencies are increasingly tracking student progress and performance over time, including the progression through school grades, movement between schools, and the transfer to postsecondary education and the workforce. Standardized course codes assist with maintaining longitudinal record systems through these transitions. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published the Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data (SCED), which many state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) have adopted as a standard for secondary course codes.

Since the 2007 publication of the SCED document, NCES has received recommendations to revise the standard so that it is more up-to-date, comprehensive, and accurate. The Forum convened the SCED Working Group to conduct a review of the SCED codes, format, and utility, and to release a revised version of the standard as an online Forum document. SCED Working Group members include state and local education agency (SEA and LEA) representatives who are familiar with the use of SCED codes in their organizations. Subject matter experts in national organizations as well as Forum SEA and LEA members review each round of revisions. Additional information on the work of the group is available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/sced_wgp.asp.

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LEA Data Access for Researchers Working Group

Local Education Agencies (LEAs) receive requests from researchers for access to data about students and staff (for research) but often do not have the capacity to field, support, and monitor these requests. This working group will help LEA staff to develop a set of core practices and operations for responding to requests for education data. The LEA Data Access for Researchers Working Group is modifying the Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective into a companion guide that is more relevant to LEAs and includes information on supporting primary research. The guide will recommend a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted by LEAs as they consider how to respond to requests for education data. Additional information on the work of the group is available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/LEA_Data_Access.asp.

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Alternative SES Measure Working Group

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, and most education agencies use these data as an indicator of economic status. However, changes to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will impact the use of these data. Therefore, the Alternative SES Measure Working Group is determining how the data needs of education agencies can be met given these changes. The working group will be informed by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Education and the USDA that will identify and address challenges resulting from the changes.

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Updates and Events

Summer 2012 Meeting Recap

Summer 2012 Meeting RecapThe Forum met on July 9-11, 2012, in Washington, DC. Forum Chair David Weinberger (Yonkers Public Schools, NY) opened the meeting by introducing the Forum officers and welcoming new members. 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. Roundtable discussions with Regional Education Laboratories (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. Ruth Neild (National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance) spoke about collaboration between Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) and the Forum, and Marilyn Seastrom (National Center for Education Statistics) addressed the importance of quality education data in a joint session. The Forum also featured presentations from John Easton, Director, Institute for Education Sciences and Jack Buckley, Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics.

Standing Committees met to discuss topics of particular interest to Committee members. 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. Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) members received an update on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) data exchange project, which has been an ongoing topic of interest at PPI meetings. Kathy Chandler of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) solicited advice from NESAC and PPI on teacher sampling. 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. Complete meeting notes are available at http://nces.ed.gov/forum/summer_12.asp.

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Winter 2013 Meeting Information

Winter 2013 Forum Meeting
February 11-12, 2013
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC
Contact: Ghedam Bairu

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2011-2012 Forum Officers


Forum Chair: Tom Ogle, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Vice Chair:  Lee Rabbitt, Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Past Chair: David Weinberger, Yonkers Public School (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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Newsletter Information

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