Step 10 : Plan ways to ensure the integrity of the data in the student record system.
The most important aspect of this step is ensuring data quality. Everyone who comes in contact with the student record system shares in this responsibility. However, those individuals with the largest stake in data quality are most likely to make an effort to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the data. For example, high school registrars are known for maintaining accurate course-credit histories for students, because they have the primary responsibility for determining credits.
In planning a student record system, effort should be invested up front to ensure that everyone involved with the data system understands the importance of high quality data. Staff members should be encouraged to take ownership of each data file, and should be provided very clear criteria for maintaining high quality data. Each organization with a student record system should develop a schedule for updating or adding data elements that identifies when data elements are to be updated. For example, the schedule should state when a new school year's grade, school, and teacher information are to be entered for each student. Such a schedule is essential for timely and accurate calculation of official statistics for a report.
An essential part of this step is planning for the training of staff members who have the responsibility for entering and updating student records. Included in the training should be clear steps for how and when to enter the data, how to review data to determine accuracy, and how to report any problems that are identified. If staff members are new to computer usage, then training should include instruction in how to use the computer. It might help to videotape training if there is high turnover in data entry staff.
An important part of training should be a focus on why data integrity is important. A few carefully chosen examples showing the problems with inaccurate or incomplete data and resulting improper decisions can go a long way.