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Winter Forum 2006 Meeting Notes


National Forum on Education Statistics
February 20-21, 2006
Orlando, FL

Contents

Opening General Session
Closing General Session
Steering Committee Meeting Summary
Joint Session: E-transcripts
Joint Session: Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) Update
PPI Committee Meeting Summary
NESAC Committee Meeting Summary
TECH Committee Meeting Summary


Opening General Session Summary

Monday, February 20, 2006

Opening and Welcome

Forum Chair Bill Smith called the Forum to order, welcomed participants, shared opening remarks, and reviewed the agenda.

  • Forum Mission (Review)
    • To improve the quality comparability and utility of elementary and secondary education data.  
  • In addition to task force activities, the Forum is working hard on Action Plan items.  Expect to hear a lot about them throughout the meeting and in the future. 
    • NESAC Federal Register
    • NESAC Member Affiliation
    • NESAC E-Signature
    • NESAC Forum PowerPoint
    • PPI FERPA Toolkit
    • PPI/TECH Data Cycle
    • TECH Forum Toolkit Update
    • TECH WebBoard/LISTSERV Improvements
    • Communications Subcommittee
  • The Forum website has received nearly 7,500 page views per month over the past two years.
  • Since June 2004, Forum publications have been accessed electronically over 162,000 times—these are downloads and opening page views only, not hits.

Data Quality Campaign

Nancy Smith, National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA)

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is a national, collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the collection, availability, and use of high-quality education data, and implement state longitudinal data systems to improve student achievement.  It is managed by the National Center for Educational Accountability and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • The Data Quality Campaign plans to provide tools and resources that states can use as they develop quality longitudinal data systems. The goal is to encourage the development and use of longitudinal data systems in all 50 states within 3 years.
  • NCEA and data quality campaign are embracing 10 essential data elements for the longitudinal data system. 
  • NCEA wants to be able to provide policy makers with information to help them make better decisions in funding. 
  • Policy questions include graduation rate, student academic growth, and students on track for later success.
    • Many people are focusing on academic growth, which is providing more information about the effectiveness of schools and districts. 
    • Numerous state tests focus on basic competency rather than college readiness.  Over half of all students that pass standardized tests still need remediation in college. 
    • There is a lot of focus on AP classes/exams. 
    • Some accountability systems focus primarily on progress alone instead of progress measured from previous year to present. 
  • DQC managing partners: Achieve, Inc., Alliance for Excellent Education, Council of Chief State School Officers, The Education Trust, National Center for Educational Accountability, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Schools Interoperability Framework Association, Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services, and State Higher Education Executive Officers.
  • The data quality campaign approach
    • To build policymaker understanding and will to invest in and use quality data infrastructures
    • To provide tools materials and information as examples of the powerful use of data to inform policy and practice
    • To create a national forum for improving collaboration, developing consensus, and reducing duplication of effort
    • To provide a one-stop resource center (www.dataqualitycampaign.org)
  • Future issues
    • Campaign resources to include white papers and brochures, monthly newsletter, a calendar of data-focused events and meetings, state data systems survey results, an overview of the campaign and partners, a toolkit and resource briefs, and surveys of system costs and development experiences. 
  • What the DQC needs from states
    • Feedback on the campaign approach and goals
    • Identification of existing tools
    • Meeting ideas that would be useful to state staff
    • Organizations, individuals, and/or projects about which DQC should know about, and how best to involve SEAs on an ongoing basis. 
    • Success stories

Recognition: Exit Codes Task Force

Members of the Exit Codes Task Force were recognized for completing their charge to identify standards and principles of good practice for the collection and reporting of K-12 completion and dropout data.  They developed the newest Forum publication Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes, which 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. 

Adjourn

The opening session was adjourned and Forum members went to standing committee meetings.

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Closing General Session Summary

Tuesday, February 22, 2006

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Update

LeRoy Rooker, U.S. Department of Education

LeRoy Rooker leads the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education, which works to meet the needs of the Department's primary customers--learners of all ages--by implementing two laws that seek to ensure student and parental rights in education: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).   He responded to questions about FERPA implementation from Forum members.

Adjourn

Forum Chair Bill Smith closed the Winter 2006 Forum Meeting by thanking Forum members for their commitment and hard work. He invited everyone to participate in the ensuing NCES MIS Conference and to attend the Summer 2006 Forum Meeting in Washington, DC on July 23-24, 2006.

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Steering Committee Meeting Summary

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome and Introductions

Forum Chair Bill Smith (Sioux Falls School District, SD) welcomed the Steering Committee to the Winter 2006 Forum Meeting.

Comments on Monday’s Events

  • Orientation Session
    • Steering Committee members were pleased with the Orientation Session with respect to both attendance and content. 
  • Data Quality Campaign (DQC)
    • Nancy Smith (NCEA) gave a very informative presentation. 
    • The Forum needs to keep up with this initiative.  It is too closely related to the Forum’s work and mission for us not to have a formal relationship with the DQC.  Should we ask about becoming an “endorsing partner”?
    • We should encourage the DQC to improve communications between the K-12 and post-secondary communities
    • We have a lot to offer.  In addition to the implications of endorsement by our SEA and LEA members, our work with the 2005-06 Action Plan items (e.g., Data Cycle and FERPA) would be helpful to the DQC.  Also, the Forum LISTSERV would be an efficient communications tool for the DQC if we offered them access to it.
    • Tolani Adeboye (CCSSO) will investigate our options for further engaging the DQC via CCSSO.
  • Workshop: Best Practices in Reporting and Use of Longitudinal Data for Closing Achievement Gaps
    • Dr. Bernhardt’s focus on LEAs may not have engaged our entire membership completely, but it was certainly appropriate for the full Forum. 
    • Standing committees should take advantage of the follow up activities with Dr. Bernhardt on Tuesday.
    • We should try to get another presentation at the Summer 2006 Meeting about using longitudinal data in schools and districts.
  • E-Transcripts
    • Good presentation by Larry Fruth (SIFA) and his team.
    • Are there enough SEA and LEA voices at the SIFA table?  We should offer our expertise to SIFA.  For example, our members can offer the SEA/LEA reality check during SIFA standards development rather than at the end of development when things go public (when it is sometimes too late to revise materials).  Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) will follow up with SIFA to see how their meetings and the Forum meetings could be scheduled to allow greater participation by Forum members in SIFA work.

Standing Committee Reports

Standing Committee leaders were pleased with their opening day of meetings.  Summaries are available as meeting notes.

Sharing Information about ED Grant Work

How can we encourage information sharing about IES and Task Order grant work among states (i.e., between a state that receives an award and other states not receiving an award but still interested in the funded task)?  These projects are funded with public resources, so all non-proprietary findings and products (in addition to experience and lessons learned) should be accessible to other members of the education data community.  At the same time, this information sharing should not become a burden to funded agencies.  For example, non-proprietary code may be made available to other states, but it isn’t really helpful unless some documentation to support the code is also available (without the award winner needing to act as a consultant to 49 other SEAs looking to adapt the code for their systems).  Is there any way to build “information sharing” into grants (i.e., pay for it) or otherwise facilitate it without burdening award recipients?

Action Plan Items

The 2005-06 action plan items appear to be progressing very nicely.  Standing committee chairs should plan on formally reporting on the status of all items at the Summer 2006 Meeting. We are not planning another formal strategic planning event in July (as was conducted in 2005), so we will need to determine how the development of action plan items will be structured for 2006-07.

2006-07 Forum Officers

New officers will be elected at the Summer 2006 Forum Meeting.  The steering committee should watch for members who are ready to take a leadership role in the Forum.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Welcome and Introductions

Forum Chair Bill Smith (Sioux Falls School District, SD) invited Steering Committee members to reflect on our work at the Winter 2006 Forum Meeting.

Comments on Tuesday’s Events

  • Round Tables
    • The early session (8:00 am) was not too well attended, but presenters were pleased overall about the feedback they received from Forum members.
  • Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) Joint Session
    • We received a lot of good information from Pat Sherrill.  Forum members were vocal in expressing both their support and concerns.  It was a healthy and necessary exchange.
  • Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Data Initiatives Joint Session
    • Tough questions from Forum members were addressed by Joe Rose as we learned more about ED plans and data/technology initiatives.
  • Closing Session
    • Forum members have so much to learn from question and answer sessions with LeRoy Rooker (Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education).  We should consider inviting him to the Summer 2006 Meeting as well and focus the session entirely on member questions.  Alternatively, in order to make Mr. Rooker available to more than just Forum members, we could ask him to give a presentation at the opening session of the Summer Data Conference (immediately following the Forum) and then open himself to questions/answers during a subsequent breakout session at the Data Conference.
    • This event would coincide nicely with the release of the Forum’s FERPA Toolkit.

Communications Subcommittee

Chair Roger Young (Manchester Essex Regional Schools, MA) reported that the Communications Subcommittee is dealing with both internal and external Forum communication issues. Some of the recommendations were already seen by members when the mission of the Forum was reviewed at the opening session and the Orientation Session was expanded to include the SEA or LEA counterparts of the new members. In the future, the committee will work to develop:

  • guidance for increasing task force membership and participation;
  • suggestions for revising the Forum website;
  • a Forum product development life cycle; and
  • outreach activities to external organizations on behalf of the Forum.

More immediately, however, Roger was asked to advise the Data Modeling working group about how to engage Forum member expertise at numerous levels (e.g., as reviewers, site visit hosts, etc., in addition to attending members).  This will be accomplished in March so as not to delay the formation of the working group.

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Joint Session: E-transcripts

Larry Fruth, Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA)

Larry Fruth introduced Laurie Collins (SIFA), Barbara Andrepont (ESP Solutions Group) and Jill Hanson (Hanson & Associates). The team updated members on SIFA progress to develop an electronic transcript.

  • The SIFA student record exchange will include a student record exchange object, a student demographic object, a student academic record (e.g., GPA, courses taken, honors etc.), and a student program participation record. 
  • In the future SIFA would like to expand the transcript to include elementary and middle school academic records (allowing for standard based report cards), student portfolios, and extended program participation (to additional federal and state programs beyond special education).
  • The draft of Version 2.0 will be presented to SIFA in late spring or early summer this year. This presentation will be followed by three months of testing and a formal 30 day review period before a final approval vote by the SIFA membership. It is estimated that it will be 6-9 months before Version 2.0 will be available to the public.
  • Forum members raised questions about including information on Migrant Education, Special Education, and other program participation. It was agreed that space for participation in multiple of programs is important for future versions of the e-transcript. The panel stated that this is not a simple task. Unlike Special Education, for example, there is a lot of variability across states regarding other programs, which makes it challenging to create objects.

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Joint Session: Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) Update

Pat Sherrill, U.S. Department of Education

Tom Luce, recently appointed to head the Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development, has been charged by the Secretary of Education to take the lead on the EDEN project.

  • EDEN will be a mandatory data collection and will be tied to grant authority.  Ultimately, if a state does not submit data, it will not be eligible to receive funding for grants.
    • If a state cannot submit data to EDEN or provides a partial submission they will have the opportunity to present a rationale and an estimated date for a complete submission. 
  • Pat Sherrill presented a timeline for the expected EDEN data collection.
    • February and March: Staff will work with program offices to identify what additional elements need to be added to the 06-07 collection.
    • April: Staff will analyze and reconcile the program office proposals.
    • May and June: Public comments will be received for 06-07 data elements via the Federal Register.
    • July: The package will be sent to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with comments and will be released for comment again in later months.
  • Before the EDEN collection could move forward, OMB required that the Department of Education take a position on the number of race/ethnicity categories.  It has been determined that there will be seven categories. 
  • Forum members expressed concern when informed that they would be told in May what elements need to be collected for the coming school year.

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PPI Meeting Summary

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome and Introductions

Susan VanGorden (Lakota Local School District, OH) called the PPI committee to order.

Data Cycle Update

Bruce Dacey (Delaware Department of Education) updated PPI on the work of the Data Cycle Action Plan Team, conducted jointly with the TECH Committee.  The group’s major task is to develop a calendar of federal data collections. 

  • The group hopes to create a searchable database that would include federal education collection names, OMB codes, year, contact information, narrative information, schedule, etc.   A subset of collections (e.g., the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) collections) could be posted to the Forum website with search capabilities by the Summer 2006 Meeting.  The long-term goal is that another organization (e.g., the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Department of Education) could take over the maintenance of this resource once they see the value in the calendar.
  • The group will work in partnership with a CCSSO group that is creating a complementary calendar of national data collections from non-federal entities (S&P, NCEA, etc.). 

Data Quality Curriculum Task Force Update

Lee Tack (Iowa Department of Education) shared an update on the work of the Data Quality Curriculum Task Force, which is working to develop training materials for local staff to teach data quality within their agencies.  This “data quality curriculum” will be based on guidance offered in the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource.  Work has begun on the universal/essential items of data quality.  They hope to have the draft curriculum ready for review by the summer meeting.  The final resource will be published on the Forum website.

FERPA Took Kit Update

Levette Williams (Georgia Department of Education) updated PPI on the activities of the FERPA Toolkit Action Plan Team.  The current vision is to provide a short document for school officials at the building level on FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines and resources.  The document should be posted on the Forum website by the July 2006 Forum Meeting.

NCES Special Task Order Updates

Rhode Island: Ken Gu

  • Rhode Island is creating a Portal System—a single point of access that is customized to each user and allows for the integration of different content/interface modules.

Iowa: Lee Tack

  • Iowa currently doesn’t have any person-to-person training and is using the task order funds to improve training for local school districts. 
  • The first statewide training will be on April 1, 2006.
  • It is hoped that there will eventually be a system of staff certifications for these trainings.

PPI’s Role in the Forum Publication Process

Ghedam Bairu (NCES) shared a handout that the described the current process for developing, reviewing, and approving Forum publications.  The group responded favorably to idea of having PPI take a larger role in the Forum publication process and felt it was the responsibility of the chair to finalize recommended improvements to this process.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Follow-up with Dr. Bernhardt

Dr. Bernhardt spent time with the committee and responded to questions about her workshop session “Best Practices in Reporting and Use of Longitudinal Data for Closing Achievement Gaps” that was presented to the full Forum.

Forum Web Boards

Susan Rittenhouse, Westat, provided the committee with instructions for using the Forum LISTSERV and WebBoard.

Statewide Longitudinal Grant Overviews

The following state representatives gave summaries of their IES (Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants awarded in November 2005. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS.

Kentucky Department of Education, Kay Kennedy
Maryland State Department of Education, Gary Heath
Ohio Department of Education, Beth Juillerat
Michigan Department of Education, Tom Howell
Pennsylvania Department of Education, Jerry Hottinger
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Brian Wilmot

FERPA Conversation with Leroy Rooker

Leroy Rooker, US Department of Education, met with PPI to answer questions about FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).  Questions focused on the following areas:

  • Data Requests
  • Surveillance and Videotaping
  • Consequences of FERPA Violations
  • FERPA and Other Federal Privacy Laws

Steering Committee Update

Susan VanGorden gave a brief overview of Steering Committee activities.  PPI members had a few suggestions for the Communications Subcommittee: Members need more detail about the organizational structure of the Forum; members would like more information about how to talk with legislators and the private sector about the Forum; and members need more support for enhancing SEA and LEA relationships within states and the Forum.

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NESAC Meeting Summary

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome and Agenda Review

Chair David Uhlig (Charlottesville City Public Schools, VA) opened the meeting by asking participants to introduce themselves by signing a sheet on the wall that identified the following areas of interest and expertise: Student Data Systems, Finance, Special Education, Staffing, and Course Codes Classification.

Open Discussion

  • Student Data Systems
    • The reality of building and rolling out systems is a real concern with respect to data quality.
    • Hurricane Katrina reminds us that disaster preparation/recovery procedures are necessary for effective system management. 
    • The issue of data transferability (i.e., how do you transfer to other systems and e-transcripts to higher education) also arises. 
    • The burden to deal with these issues rests heavily on local and state systems. 
  • Finance
    • It is difficult to generate timely and comparable school and finance data when it moves from the federal level to the state level and finally to districts—a slow process.
    • How can we compress the collection window? 
    • How can we improve the comparability of data between schools and districts? 
    • There is a four year lag on reporting of financial data at the federal level. 
    • There is a lot of variation in school district size and accounting sophistication. 
    • Where are the exemplary schools systems we can use as models?
  • Special Education
    • What is going on in states with respect to data systems architecture for getting data from school level to state level?
    • EDEN (Education Data Exchange Network) is on the front end of validation studies.  It is improving our understanding of how states are gathering and reporting data and identifying variations. 
    • Special education is one of the key program areas to be collected through EDEN.  Expect some challenges to comparing data collected through Office of Special Education Programs’ Data Analysis System (OSEP DANS) and data collected through EDEN due to variability in the way states move student level data to the state level. 
  • Staffing Issues on the Horizon
    • Establishing a teacher database 
    • Tying certification to staffing
    • Linking students to teachers.
    • Implications of incorrect interpretation of data.
    • 1 in 5 LEAs use course codes instead subject codes 
    • Indicators of teacher quality 
  • Course Codes Classification
    • What is important for SEAs to collect? e.g., current course enrollment, student id, course taken, student grades and teacher id. 
    • How do you gain parental support and justify reporting of additional data elements. 

Task Force Reports

  • Education Finance Task Force: Lavan Dukes (Florida Department of Education)
  • Exit Codes Task Force: Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education)
    • Exit Codes publication titled Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes is now available.
    • The publication has a taxonomy that accounts for 100% of students.  A crosswalk of state exit codes is included. 
    • The publication focuses on: Where are students and why did they leave? 
    • The publication also addresses challenges in tracking students, effective practices in tracking students, and issues in distinguishing between completers and graduates. 

Task Order Reports

Oklahoma State Department of Education, Patti High

  • The first state cooperative system special project task orders were large in scope.  As a result they often fell behind schedule.  This project was narrowed down to technical staff training for XML and related components of existing web projects. 
  • This is pretty technical even for technical people, so Oklahoma is working with the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA). 
  • The finance system will be addressed first, most likely followed by the staffing system.
  • 85% of grant award will be spent on training and a consultant.  Staff will work with consultant to help iron out technical issues. 
  • This task will begin in March.  Planners hope to have the training program running by the summer. 

Statewide Longitudinal Grant Overviews

The following state representatives gave summaries of their IES (Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants awarded in November 2005. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS.

  • Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, Les Morse
  • California Department of Education, Sonya Edwards
  • Florida Department of Education, Lavan Dukes
  • South Carolina State Department of Education, Bunny Mack

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Course Code Project - Joint Session with TECH

Denise Bradby, MPR Associates, presented an update of the NCES Course Code Project. Based on user reviews and recommendations from the External Review Panel, the alpha-numeric code used to describe courses has now been finalized. The edited secondary course descriptions will be placed on the Public Review Drafts page for review. After Forum input and formal NCES review, the course codes will be placed in the NCES Handbooks Online. Non-secondary course descriptions are also being developed as a component of this effort.

  • Mission: To develop a single classification system
    • Goals:
      • To provide a standard for SIS vendors;
      • To enable comparison of offerings among districts and states
      • To promote use of electronic student transcripts; and
      • To encourage use of transcripts in evaluations of student outcomes. 
  • Phase 3 activities (since 2005 Summer Data Conference)
    • Conducted interviews, reconvened the expert advisory panel, completed updates to secondary courses, and updated the crosswalk to the Classification of Secondary Courses. 
    • As a result of the reviews the structure of the code was changed to eliminate the school level. This information will be contained in the coding of the subject areas.  Non-secondary codes and descriptions will parallel the secondary codes. 
    • Responding to a question, Denise stated that reviewers have raised questions about dual enrollment. There are options but none are actually part of the course code. 
    • Secondary descriptions are based on course content. 
    • Seven of the original standard course descriptions are now condensed. There is an average of 54 courses described in the 23 subject areas. 
    • Codes will be developed for grades 1-5 but courses will not be described.

Dr. Victoria Bernhardt

Dr. Bernhardt spent time with the committee and responded to questions about her workshop session “Best Practices in Reporting and Use of Longitudinal Data for Closing Achievement Gaps” that was presented to the full Forum.

  • Have you seen a difference in longitudinal systems in local and state levels?  At a state level you have to look across districts to find out where the struggles are and to see who has similar populations and to review their procedures.  Within a district you definitely would look at longitudinal analysis differently. 
  • Should there be a difference in special education status?  We’ve got to look at how students are identified and why are they being moved into special education.  For example, some students are moved into special education for behavioral reasons.  The more teachers are prepared to meet their needs the classroom, the fewer students will be moved to special education. 
  • When you work with a district, who uses the data?  It depends on the district. Most teachers and school administrators.
  • What are some of the popular data points in an LEA? 
    • Student achievement disaggregated in every form, demographic data, perceptions, and process data. 
    • Some districts doing well with data quality have someone in the district that owns the data and make sure the data are clean and good.
    • In places where data are used best, the superintendent for curriculum instruction has ownership of the data. 
  • Recommendation: Best practices and standard guides that can be directed to districts.  LEAs need to delve deeper into their data and have good leadership and examples.
  • At what level should the state post/provide data?  Ideally down to the site level. However there needs to a balance of gathering data and analyzing data.  It’s not helpful to gather data just for the sake of gathering data, it has to be analyzed and interpreted. 
  • How do you detect bad data quality and which school level data do you find to be of the poorest quality?  If data entry personnel aren’t trained properly, some fields go to default and are, almost by definition, bad data.  In districts with data warehouses, staff need to be trained starting at the administrative level and then into the classroom. 
  • Administrators are more likely to catch incorrect data than at the teacher level.

Steering Committee Report

The items identified by NESAC in the Strategic Planning Activity in July were: increasing awareness of Federal Registry and OMB, improving Forum outreach and visibility, promoting the Forum by producing and distributing to forum members an electronic signature, and ensuring that the PowerPoint presentation is always available on the website.  EIMAC has been a great resource in making states aware of federal register updates and it will become standard procedure for Tolani to pass this information along to the Forum listserv. 

  • E-Signature: To increase awareness of the forum.  This includes the Forum logo, your name, your Forum role, a clear “National Forum on Education Statistics” and the link to the Forum website.  There were concerns about firewalls and e-mail filters.  We should test it in states that may have such mechanisms in place.  Use of this does increase visibility.
  • PowerPoint presentation: On the Outreach Toolkit page.
  • Membership Affiliation Survey: This helps the Forum to tap into resources that aren’t within the Forum.  An e-mail was sent to forum members to ask their other affiliated organizations. 

Forum Web Boards

Susan Rittenhouse, Westat, provided the committee with instructions for using the Forum LISTSERV and WebBoard.

NCES Handbooks Online

Tolani Adeboye, CCSSO, told NESAC that staff are currently working on the NCES Handbooks Online, Version 4.0 to be released this Fall.  Version 3.0 new content and features include Food Service, Technology in Schools, minor changes from EDEN, Transitioned Appendices, improved versioning, and a mapping function.  Tolani is working on a crosswalk of the Handbooks, EDEN, and SIF.  The exit codes section will be revised in the handbooks as well as education indictors, virtual education, early childhood, and assessment.  There is an improved table of contents, better-organized object detail pages, and expanded search capabilities.

Demonstration Report

Using Data to Improve Student Learning - Al Larson, Meriden Board of Education (CT)

  • It is important for teachers to be able to identify student errors on assessment and know how to use the error recognition to improve his/her practice. 
  • Traditional tests give raw scores and achievement labels and this may actually hurt instruction. 
  • The objective here is to improve instruction by developing multiple sets of error identification tools. 
  • There are foils designed to trick/fool/distract lower scoring students.  Examples of foils are: no support; opposites that looks like; weak foil; and a related foil. 
  • There is a strategy to look back when doing reading comprehension.  Some children are trained not to look back and it works as a disadvantage. 
  • Provide curriculum materials/methods to promote more efficient reading comprehension strategies.  After testing, teachers are encouraged to keep assessments until after reports are returned. 
  • Students should be asked questions based on error reports. 

Discussion of Key Issues from Groups

  • Linking educators to students.  In Massachusetts they are just starting to build a system that will help do this.  Legislators and governors want the link to be made. Currently Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Connecticut (LEA) are doing this.  It requires the use of a  teacher identifier. 
  • Finance – 65% comparable finance data will be important across states.  It should drill down and be similar to the nonfiscal handbooks in its granularity.
  • What data are required from whom?  This question is always being asked of states by districts.  This needs to be addressed at the national level.  It needs to be down to the element level. 
  • There is sometimes a disconnect with what agencies are requiring and what is allowable by FERPA. 

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TECH Meeting Summary

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome and Introductions

Vice Chair Jeff Stowe (Arizona Department of Education) called the meeting to order, reviewed the meeting agenda and asked participants to introduce themselves. Jeff explained that Bertha Doar (Rockwood School District, MO), TECH Chairperson, was unable to attend the meeting.

NCES Special Task Order Reports

  • Kansas State Department of Education
    • Kathy Gosa reported on the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) task order, Increasing Capacity for Building a High Quality State Data System. As the project was just recently funded, Kathy reported on a plan to pilot a student data entry system, including the necessary training. The intent is to provide data for the KSDE EDEN (Education Data Exchange Network) submissions to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Hawaii Department of Education
    • Tom Saka presented a review of Hawaii’s task order, Enabling Relevant School-Level Data Reporting. Tom discussed the importance of collecting the “right” data for managing and improving classroom activities and for determining why the data are needed (i.e., their function) before developing a data model. Tom closed his presentation by reminding the committee that only “relevant” data can be “good” data.

IES State Longitudinal Grant Reports

The following state representatives gave summaries of their IES (Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education) Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants awarded in November 2005. Abstracts of these and the other awarded grants can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/programs/SLDS.

  • Arkansas Department of Education, Carmen Jones
  • Minnesota Department of Education, Donna Jones
  • Tennessee Department of Education, Tim Webb

Joint Session with NESAC and PPI – E-Transcripts

Larry Fruth, Executive Director of the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA), reported on the progress of the SIFA team charged with developing an electronic transcript that could be used when students transfer from one school (or state) to another.  See E-transcripts - Joint Session for more information.

Tuesday, February 21

Course Code Project - Joint Session with NESAC

Denise Bradby, MPR Associates, presented an update of the NCES Course Code Project. Based on user reviews and recommendations from the External Review Panel, the alpha-numeric code used to describe courses has now been finalized. The edited secondary course descriptions will be placed on the Public Review Drafts page for review. After Forum input and formal NCES review, the course codes will be placed in the NCES Handbooks Online. Non-secondary course descriptions are also being developed as a component of this effort.

  • Mission: To develop a single classification system
    • Goals:
      • To provide a standard for SIS vendors;
      • To enable comparison of offerings among districts and states
      • To promote use of electronic student transcripts; and
      • To encourage use of transcripts in evaluations of student outcomes. 
  • Phase 3 activities (since 2005 Summer Data Conference)
    • Conducted interviews, reconvened the expert advisory panel, completed updates to secondary courses, and updated the crosswalk to the Classification of Secondary Courses. 
    • As a result of the reviews, the structure of the code was changed to eliminate the school level. This information will be contained in the coding of the subject areas.  Non-secondary codes and descriptions will parallel the secondary codes. 
    • Responding to a question, Denise stated that reviewers have raised questions about dual enrollment. There are options but none are actually part of the course code. 
    • Secondary descriptions are based on course content. 
    • Seven of the original standard course descriptions are now condensed. There is an average of 54 courses described in the 23 subject areas. 
    • Codes will be developed for grades 1-5 but courses will not be described.

Task Force Updates

  • Virtual Education, Co-Chairs Derrick Lindsay (Mississippi Department of Education) and Blair Loudat (North Clackamas Schools, OR)
    • Blair reported that the work of this task force is nearly complete. An external review of a draft of the publication indicated the importance of separating data issues from policy issues.  The Forum Guide to Virtual Education: In Search of High Quality Data to Support Distance Learning, will be shared with TECH and the Forum for review later this spring.
  • Decision Support Literacy, Co-Chairs Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and Raymond Yeagley (Northwest Evaluation Association)
    • The publication will be revised to ensure that inconsistencies with some definitions are corrected. The publication will probably be shortened.

Forum Web Boards

Susan Rittenhouse, Westat, provided the committee with instructions for using the Forum LISTSERV and WebBoard.

Communication Subcommittee

Roger Young (Manchester Essex Regional Schools, MA) reported that the Communications Subcommittee is dealing with both internal and external Forum communication issues. Some of the recommendations were already seen by members when the mission of the Forum was reviewed at the opening session and the Orientation Session was expanded to include the SEA or LEA counterparts of the new members. In the immediate future, the committee will work to develop:

  • guidance for increasing task force membership and participation;
  • suggestions for revising the Forum website;
  • a Forum product development life cycle; and
  • outreach activities to external organizations on behalf of the Forum.

Dr. Victoria Bernhardt

Dr. Bernhardt spent time with the committee responding to questions about her workshop session “Best Practices in Reporting and Use of Longitudinal Data for Closing Achievement Gaps” that was presented to the full Forum.

Steering Committee Report

Jeff Stowe reported that he raised the issue of how information about federally funded grants gets disseminated, as previously discussed in TECH.

Forum Strategic Planning Update

  • WebBoard Management
    • Susan Rittenhouse, Westat, provided the committee with a review on using the Forum LISTSERV and WebBoard.
  • Forum Tool Kit
    • Andy Rogers (QIP) reported that the Outreach Toolkit was designed to help members have easy access to materials for publicizing Forum activities throughout their states and local agencies. Andy shared a one page summary of the latest Forum publications as an example of these materials. Both TECH and the Communications Subcommittee will be asked for recommendations to make the Tool Kit a more useful resource.
  • Data Cycle
      • Jeff Stowe reported that the Data Cycle Action Plan Team met to discuss the development of a federal collections calendar. The group works under the direction of both TECH and PPI.  The federal collection task will be coordinated with a parallel effort to develop a calendar of non-federal national education data collections (e.g., School Matters) being managed by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Data Model Report

After an introduction by Kashka Kubzdela (NCES), Larry Fruth (SIFA) presented a summary of a task developed at the request of NCES to see if it would be valuable to create a data model for districts and schools. It was determined that a data model could:

  • help districts become better informed about best practices with respect to data modeling;
  • enable districts to view a generic data model that could serve as a template as they develop their own district specific data models;
  • outline what data school districts could be collecting; and
  • inform districts about data models when discussing systems with vendors.

It was determined that the data model would use the same framework as the NCES Handbooks Online and that additional elements would eventually be added to the Handbook.

Forum SEA and LEA representatives strongly endorsed the development of a school district data model by NCES, SIFA, and the Forum.  Members suggested that a Forum/SIFA working group be formed to explore this issue.

Disseminating Information Developed from Federal Grants

Members of the TECH Committee expressed interest in ensuring that the results of the IES Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grants and NCES Special Task Orders are made readily available to Forum members and others. The issue:

  • A great deal of federal money is being spent. How can other states take advantage of this work?
  • What information should be provided by states for others to review?

Members asked for the conversation to continue. Tom Ogle (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education), Derrick Lindsay (Mississippi Department of Education), Blair Loudat (North Clackamas Schools, OR), Bethann Canada (Virginia Department of Education) and Kathy Gosa (Kansas State Department of Education) volunteered to participate in the discussion.  Kashka Kubzdela (NCES) indicated that she would appreciate hearing our suggestions.

Conclusion

Jeff Stowe reviewed issues discussed at the TECH Committee and adjourned the meeting.

 Meeting Notes

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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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