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Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data
NCES 2007-808
May 2007

Lesson: What is a Culture of Quality Data?


All Key Players1


This lesson is one of four workshops that serve as an introduction to building a culture of quality education data. All participants should complete all four workshops to derive the maximum benefit from the lessons. In this workshop, participants will assess their current knowledge of quality data issues. They will respond to a scenario concerning quality data in an educational situation. Participants will use a concept map to demonstrate their understanding of the importance of quality data, the components of a culture of quality data, and the factors affecting data quality.


  • Define a culture of quality data.
  • Determine the importance of quality data.
  • Identify the components of a culture of quality data.

Instructor Preparation

  • Download a PDF version of Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School & District Resource. Print copies of the Forum Guide can be ordered on line.
  • Read the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School & District Resource.
  • Make a single copy of each of the following lesson resources (which can be found in the Lesson Resources section column at the top of this page) for each participant:
    • Before... After... Next (BAN) Chart
    • Quality Data Culture Education Scenario
    • Pages 3–5 of Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School & District Resource
    • Quality Data Culture Concept Map

Essential Learnings

  • Each key player has an essential role in establishing and maintaining a culture of quality education data. Each needs to understand the professional responsibilities of the others and how they should collaborate and communicate to make the system that produces data function well.
  • Each key player is a steward of the data, responsible for identifying data errors and suggesting ways in which errors can be corrected and avoided in the future.
  • The Data Steward/Coordinator role is one that many Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have not assigned to a particular person, but the position is essential for consistently producing quality data. The responsibilities of that role may be divided among several people, but all responsibilities should be covered.
  • Accuracy, security, utility, and timeliness are the components of quality data. Those features will form a framework for understanding the responsibilities of the key players in establishing a culture of quality data.


1 Key players include board members, superintendents, principals, data stewards/coordinators, teachers, technology support staff, and office staff.

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