Opening Session Meeting Notes
Closing Session Meeting Notes
Steering Committee Meeting Notes
PPI Standing Committee Meeting Summary
NESAC Standing Committee Meeting Summary
TD&C Standing Committee Meeting Summary
Attachment 1: Common Questions about Data Information Working Group (DIRWG)
Attachment 2: Recommendation to Expand Role of Forum Steering Committee
Attachment 3: Working with the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF): Recommendations
Attachment 4: ESSI Tasks
Attachment 5: Virtual Education: Best Practices: Request to Form Task Force/Work Group
General Introduction & Updates—Bethann Canada , Forum Chair
LEA Panel on Effects of No Child Left Behind Legislation
(Blair Loudat, Panel Chair. Participants: Raymond Yeagley, Bill Smith, Susan Van Gordon, Janet Emerick, Tom Purwin)
Chair Bethann Canada asked for Reports from the Standing Committee Chair people:
National Education Statistics Committee Report—Bill Smith
Policies, Programs, and Implementation Committee Report—Jerry Hottinger
Technology, Dissemination, and Communications Committee Report—Tom Purwin
Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Presentation
Bethann Canada, Forum Chair, welcomed the group. She introduced Deborah Newby, who will be providing staff support for NESAC.
Bethann reviewed Forum achievements for the past six months.
The committee reviewed the process for establishing a new working group or task force.
Lee Hoffman discussed plans for shifting some of the responsibilities now residing with TD&C to the Steering Committee. Additional staff support will be provided by ESSI (see Attachment 4).
Bethann Canada opened the meeting with a request from some Forum members to reconsider the dates of the winter Forum meeting. It was decided that Andy Rogers would poll current Forum members to see whether they were interested in changing the current meeting schedule.
The standing committees gave their reports:
The Committee recommended that the entire Forum be given the opportunity to review and make comments on the proposed revisions to the Forum website. To that end, the URL will be shared via the Forum listserv.
The Steering Committee approved the establishment of a Virtual Education Working Group.
Barbara Andrepont and Tom Purwin reported on recommendations for interaction between the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) and the Forum. The Committee requested that the recommendations be forwarded to the full Forum for review and comment.
Committee chair Jerry Hottinger (PA) called the meeting to order and reviewed the committee’s mission as outlined in the Forum bylaws. Members introduced themselves.
Dennis Powell (IL) reported that the Privacy/Confidentiality Task Force had completed its work, and the publication Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information will be released later this spring. This is a revision of the 1997 publication Protecting the Privacy of Student Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies. The new edition will be a hyperlinked document. Dennis reviewed some of the highlights…
Privacy/Confidentiality/FERPA & NCLB --Conference Call with LeRoy Rooker
LeRoy Rooker reviewed specific NCLB changes to previous laws:
Mr. Rooker also explained what data must be provided to military recruiters, and how parents can opt in or out. The district must provide student name, address, and phone number for juniors and seniors at a school to military recruiters upon request; however, the school district must notify parents and allow them opportunity to opt out. Military notification can be incorporated with directory notification. Model notification is provided in a recent letter to districts posted on the FPCO website. This letter also clarifies that there is no provision for “opt in.”
Mr. Rooker addressed several questions concerning data suppression. Where all students are in one category, he noted that one “generally can report good news.” If all students pass a test, it is “difficult to see how this could be harmful or an invasion of privacy.” It can be helpful to list awards and honors as directory information. Releasing information that all students in a school failed a test, however, would be problematic. Similarly, publishing information that 100% of students are eligible for free lunch would be problematic for FERPA and for the Department of Agriculture (which administers the free lunch program), while releasing the information that 0% are eligible may be problematic for Agriculture.
Several questions were raised regarding use of student identifiers. Any identifier that tracks a student is personally identifiable. The agency can release aggregate data, and can send student data to the SEA for limited purposes (audit & evaluation).
Can a state transfer student data from one district to another? Can the state display information for the purpose of resolving duplicates for unique student identifiers? Can the district view such information for that purpose? When a student moves, under what conditions can the prior district access that student’s information? At Mr. Rooker’s suggestion, the committee agreed to draft these questions so he could prepare appropriate responses. (NOTE: On Tuesday, Dennis Powell drafted these specific scenarios, and the committee approved a motion to authorize the chair to take scenarios to the steering committee for their review.)
Performance Indicators Task Force (Joint Session with NESAC)
Steve King (WY) reported that the name of this task force has been changed to “Education Indicators” (from “Performance Indicators”). The report is under review by the AERA Indicators SIG and several state and local focus groups. It should be back to the task force by the end of May. They hope to have the document ready for Forum approval by the July Forum meeting. The document will include commonly accepted definitions and examples of misuse. It will not be a comprehensive list, but includes about 50 indicators. This will be a guide for the public as well as schools, districts, and states.
Exit Codes Task Force (Joint Session with NESAC)
Wes Bruce (IN) reported on the progress of this new group. The goal is to develop a compendium (taxonomy) of leaver/transaction codes—that is, broad categories that account for 100% of exiting students. This will require about 35 codes. A GED-recipient, for example, could be a dropout, completer, or graduate, depending on the state. This will be an interactive database. Target date is one year from now.
Data Quality Task Force Report (Joint Session with TD&C)
Blair Loudat (OR) reported that the Data Quality Task Force hopes to have its deliverables ready by this summer. These would include the handbook, separate sheets focusing on various staff roles, a CD with PDFs, training materials, and a PowerPoint presentation.
Impact of NCLB/PBDMI: Open Discussion
PBDMI and NCLB have been a strong force for change in the states as well as the districts. Education data is evolving toward student and staff level data systems. Redesign toward enterprise systems requires an understanding of business processes and actively seeks to avoid “paving cow paths.” Federal/state/LEA collaboration, cooperation, and communication are essential.
Several states have identified a lack of data management expertise as a problem area. Organizing at the LEA level, Ohio has identified a data management function within the districts, and is working to build district data management capacity and expertise. Data conferences are being held twice a year, and are used for training and professional development; and a website has been developed.
States have also been developing systems to determine highly qualified status. States caution that we need to work against a “force for bad data.”
Race/ethnicity Update: Conference Call with Kim Jenkins, OCR
OMB revised its standards for reporting of race/ethnicity in 1997. Major points of change are:
We may expect a proposal “soon.” Eleven categories are hypothesized (but this is not final):
1) Hispanic (any race) + 2-6) Aggregate 5 categories + 7) American Indian + white, 8) Asian + white, 9) Black + white, 10) Black+ American Indian, 11) all other.
For NCLB and AYP purposes, USDE currently allows discretion regarding the race/ethnicity categories but will issue guidance.
The current timetable is for implementation in Fall 2004 but this is obviously problematic. OMB is aware of the states’ need for 3 years to implement the new guidelines. This proposal will be subject to public review/comment (45-60 days), and states should use this opportunity to comment.
A crosswalk from old to new categories will be needed.
Virtual Education Best Practices Working Group
Blair Loudat presented a proposal to form a Working Group to explore issues concerning virtual education best practices and technology issues (see Attachment 5). A motion to approve the formation of the working group was approved unanimously by voice vote.
Update from Steering Committee
Jerry reported on the Steering Committee’s meetings. The Steering Committee agreed to send PPI’s scenarios to Leroy Rooker.
We reviewed plans for reorganization of the forum, with the steering committee to function as an Executive Committee, and assuming business functions and operations. TD&C will probably change its name, and any needed changes to Policies and Procedures will be sent to PPI members for approval.
The new USDE Data Information Working Group (DIRWG) was described. This group will review and coordinate all USDE data and information. The question of what role the states should play was raised.
Lee Hoffman noted several common problems in state proposals for special task order projects:
Mary McCrory updated PPI on the status of the basic participation contracts. Basic participation, NAEP, and PBDMI are combined under one contract. Because the total is over $100K, the contracts must go to the Contracts Review Board, and resolution of new issues concerning PBDMI caused a delay. These issues have been resolved, so the contracts are nearly “in the mail.” There is still over $630K unclaimed from the old contracts. Mary also noted that the Fellows program is scheduled for November, but no longer in May.
Special Task Order Projects
Jerry Hottinger reported on Pennsylvania’s SIF project in which the SEA partners with the Susquehanna Intermediate Unit to code SIF data objects from student, human resources, and finance.
Education Information Advisory Committee’s Permanent Standing Task Force (EIAC PSTF)
EIAC is a committee of CCSSO that reviews proposed federal data collection as an unofficial part of the OMB clearance process. The PSTF was formed in 2000 and has helped with the development of PBDMI. Collaboration between USDE and states helped to focus discussion and get PBDMI off the ground. The twelve members meet 3 or 4 times each year. The next meeting is in May, and next steps in PBDMI will be discussed.
New projects and directions (Open Discussion)
In addition to the new revised and comprehensive student privacy guide, other targeted products would be helpful in this area. These might include a CD focusing on “what you need to know about student privacy” (and possibly training materials). Specific scenarios similar to the ones generated in earlier discussions with LeRoy Rooker could be developed as a resource FAQ and posted on the Forum (or FPCO) website.
Guidelines are needed for issues involving access to student records and what types of policies and procedures are needed. Illinois, for example, has a Student Records Act and therefore less need for specific policy. Iowa has internal policies and procedures addressing restrictions, back up, sign off, as well as what districts must do (e.g., how to authenticate the person using the system). We can explore what rules are in place in states that have well-developed student systems (like Florida and Texas).
Introductions and Agenda Review, Bill Smith, NESAC Chair
Bill Smith, SD LEA, reviewed the agenda and welcomed the committee members and guests. Meeting participants introduced themselves.
CCD Changes for 2004-2005, Lee Hoffman, NCES
The school survey will include teacher breakouts by race and ethnicity. It will also use a new “shared time” flag as a way to identify schools in which students receive some education services although they are enrolled in another school.
Financial Accounting for State and Local School Systems is available in print and online. It is the first revision since 1990, and the first major rewrite since 1980. It contains guidance relating to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board statements through GASB statement 39. It includes new account codes required for GASB reporting and updates for the 21 st century. It will go into effect with the FY 2004 NPEFS and F-33 data collections (data collected in 2005).
Open Forum, Members
Oren Christmas of Michigan noted that data quality is becoming a more critical issue. As states work with larger datasets, it becomes a greater challenge to ensure the validity, reliability, and accuracy of data collected. Crime and safety data is one example. (It was noted by another committee member that the Department of Justice has created software for schools for collecting data on crime and safety. They are also working on a Web-based version for districts.)
Some states use data audit teams to verify data received from districts, but doing so costs money and some agencies may not be able to afford to use audit teams. Bill Smith noted that there is a Forum Data Quality Task Force that is looking at data quality issues. It was also stated that the move to electronic data collections has resulted in fewer (or no) paper trail for the data collected. Source documentation is needed for tracking data quality issues. Some participants suggested that the best way to improve data is to get the districts interested in the data they collect and submit to the states. Superintendents at the district and state level are getting more concerned about the data reports they are asked to sign and certify. Non-comparability of data across states is another enduring concern.
Patty High suggested that the data elements in the NCES Data Handbooks be reviewed from a SIF (Schools Interoperability Framework) perspective. Vendors will be using the data elements and data definitions in the handbooks as they create their software for schools and districts.
Task Force Reports (jointly with PPI):
The Education Performance Indicators Task Force has renamed the guidebook it is producing to “Guide to Education Indicators” rather than “Guide to Education Performance Indicators.” The guide will stress the necessity of using groups of complementary education indicators rather than individual performance indicators to assess the status and progress of education institutions. They plan to have a document for Forum approval at the July meeting. The guide is designed to help both education professionals and other professionals who use or report data about local school districts. The task force plans to conduct several in-depth public reviews of the guidebook. The guide will include encyclopedia-type entries for over 50 common education indicators, including common definitions and calculation methods.Exit Codes Task Force, Wes Bruce, Chair
The Dropouts & Completers Working Group was granted task force status by the Steering Committee in December 2003. The group changes its name to “Exit Codes Task Force” because the focus will be on collecting and cataloging the various leavers codes used by states to track students who do not re-enroll at a school or district. The task force is currently working to define large categories of status codes for students that are mutually exclusive. The task force met for the first time earlier in the day. They expect to have a product by February 2005.
NCES Nonfiscal Handbooks, Mary Anne Kirkland and Deborah Newby, CCSSO
The NCES Nonfiscal Handbooks are now available online at the NCES website. They are cataloged into a searchable online database. Mary Anne Kirkland gave a demonstration of how to use and search the database. Searches can be done at three levels—beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Plans are to have a crosswalk that will link the new data elements numbers with the data element numbers used in the former staff and student handbooks. A keyword search feature may be added at a later time.
A working group has been organized to look at adding food service data elements to the handbooks. A draft set of Food Service Categories was shared with the committee. Committee members recommended that operations management be considered, especially for food service programs that are contracted externally. There are many hidden costs to watch for in food service programs. Food service staff are frequently contracted as a separate entity and may provide services outside of the district.
Other new domains to be added to the online database include Facilities, and Crime and Safety. The data elements from those two forum publications will be organized into a structure of entities and instances comparable to the current database organization structure. Those domains should be added by next September. The accounting codes that form the new Finance handbook will be organized into an XML and PDF document and available as a link from the online database. The organizational structure for the finance data elements is markedly differently from that of the nonfiscal data elements. Technology data elements will be added to the online database at a later date.
Committee members were asked to review the text for a brochure promoting the use of the Online Handbooks. Committee members recommended that potential uses for the online database be included on the cover of the brochure to draw user interest. It was also suggested that the brochure include the results of a sample search.
USDE Data Information Review Working Group (DIRWG), Vickie Schray
A conference call was held with Vickie Schray to discuss the newly formed Data Information Review Working Group of the US Department of Education (see Attachment 1). DIRWG will be a governance body composed of Principal Office staff. Its purpose will be to support the review, approval, coordination, and integration of the Department’s data and information. The review process will be designed in partnership with the primary business owners of the information. It will support the development and implementation of an agency-wide information and data management plan. It will better coordinate, streamline, and accelerate data collection activities while reducing data collection burden on customers. The establishment of DIRWG has been approved by the Secretary. The Office of Management and Budget will work with the Department to make DIRWG a success.
Program offices will come to DIRWG prior to data collection to avoid duplication in data collections. The plan is for a program office to put together a proposal for a data collection, send the proposal to DIRWG for review to identify where data may already be collected, clarify the reason the information is needed, and assure quality. The proposal would then be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. OMB would prefer not to be responsible for reviewing every data collection in the Department. DIRWG should reduce the amount of time needed for OMB approval.
Following the conference call, Steve King recommended that NESAC communicate to the Department about state concerns so that they, as the data providers, are included in some way in the review process.
Special Task Order Reports
Kansas (Sherrill Martinez) is working on an Enterprise Data Model. They are identifying data elements in a student database and creating data cubes from existing data. They are in the process of surveying schools regarding their student information systems and are contacting vendors for help getting the data from the systems. An LEA group has been organized to identify what data is needed. A security audit is in process.
Michigan (Oren Christmas) is working on converting legacy DBF files into a standard format. They will then convert them into a set of relational tables. Primary keys will be Schools and School Districts. The database will reside on a SQL server, with aggregated tables. They are in the process of completing paperwork to hire a contractor to accomplish the work. They expect project completion in 2005.
Vermont (Brad James) is developing guidelines to improve data use and capacity for schools and school districts to report data electronically. They will use a statewide unique student identifier. A best practices guide is the main object of the task.
Kentucky (Deborah Newby for Karen Waugh) is looking at their 39 state divisions to document each of the data systems in use. They have completed 8 of the 39 to date, and expect to have them all completed by the end of 2004. They will establish a data quality baseline to address user concern over data quality, consistency, and accuracy.
Steering Committee Report
Bill Smith reported on the Forum Steering Committee activities. A Virtual Education Working Group has been approved. It will define technical requirements for distance education, look at SIS systems to support virtual education, and develop guidelines for vendors. They will partner with SEDTA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) to produce the guide. Blair Loudat is leading the Working Group.
The Policies & Procedures Standing Committee is reviewing what is allowable under FERPA for exchange of student data.
The Technology, Dissemination, and Communications Standing Committee will no longer be responsible for the Dissemination & Communications work for the Forum. That work will be absorbed the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee recommended that a letter be drafted and sent to Vickie Schray to outline the concerns expressed by Steven King regarding state involvement in the work of DIRWG.
National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Panel on Dropouts & Completers, Lee Hoffman
Following the NCES reauthorization in January 2003, OERI became IES (Institute of Education Sciences). In the reauthorization language, NCES was asked to convene a panel to look at its dropout rates and determine a national rate to be recommended for use. NISS was asked to convene a panel of experts to review the NCES rates and make recommendations. The panel is expected to release a paper in the spring. The panel felt that the dropout rate merited more discussion than the completer rates. They recognized that to properly measure dropout rates, longitudinal studies were needed. However, those are costly to conduct. So, state administrative records data submitted in the NCES Common Core of Data need to be used as the data source. The panel questioned the quality and comparability of the data. NCES will look at conducting quality control studies to see if the data can be improved.
Meeting was called to order by Tom Purwin, Chair.
A Changing Role for TD&C
The meeting began with a discussion on the role of TD&C within the Forum.
Blair Loudat updated the committee on the progress of the Data Quality Task Force. She reported that the data quality publication is almost complete, and asked for input on how to present it.
Tom Szuba updated the committee on the revisions to the Forum website.
Blair Loudat opened a discussion about virtual education.
Course Code Taxonomy Project
Denise Bradby, MPR, Inc. reported to on the progress of the Course Code Taxonomy project, Phase I.
Barbara Andrepont reported on the work of the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF). She presented a set of recommendations that was forwarded to the Steering Committee for review (see Attachment 3).
Andy Rogers opened a discussion about a possible short-term project to look at statewide identification systems. The group decided that it is best to look at what states are currently doing. ESSI will do the background research.
The group asked about a possible work group on decision support systems/data warehousing. They would like to make suggestions of what characteristics make a “good warehousing system.”
The members wanted to look into a project about data quality validation in which internal software checks can facilitate data validation electronically.
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.