The National Forum on Education Statistics develops free resources on a variety of issues that affect schools, school districts, and state education agencies. Each publication is based on extensive, objective research and the collective experience and expertise of a wide variety of education professionals. Past publications are reviewed and updated periodically to keep up with changes in a dynamic educational system.
|Forum Guide to Alternative Measures of Socioeconomic Status in Education Data Systems (2015)
This publication provides “encyclopedia-type” entries for eight plausible alternative measures of socioeconomic status (SES) and, as such, will help readers better understand the implications of collecting and interpreting a range of SES-related data in education agencies.
|PDF (6.15 MB)|
|Forum Guide to College and Career Ready Data (2015)
This publication outlines the data needs and helpful analytics for five use cases (individual learning plans, educator support systems, postsecondary feedback loops, accountability systems, and career technical and education programs) that support SEA and LEA college and career ready initiatives.
|PDF (6.68 MB)|
|Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A Local Education Agency Perspective
This publication recommends a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted and adapted by LEAs as they consider how to respond to requests for both new and existing data about the education enterprise.
|PDF (2.20 MB)|
|Forum Guide to the Teacher-Student Data Link: A Technical Implementation Resource
This guide introduces the teacher-student data link (TSDL) and provides information on TSDL components, use cases, and strategies for overcoming implementation challenges.
|PDF (8.31 MB)|
|Forum Guide to Taking Action with Education Data
This Guide provides practical information about the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to identify, access, interpret, and use data to improve instruction in classrooms and the operation of schools, local education agencies, and state education agencies.
|PDF (3.3 MB)|
|Forum Guide to Supporting Data Access for Researchers: A State Education Agency Perspective (2012)
This Guide recommends a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted and adapted by state education agencies as they consider how to respond to requests for data about the education enterprise, including data maintained in longitudinal data systems.
|PDF (2.2 MB)|
|Forum Guide to Facilities Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies (2012)
This Guide provides a framework for collecting, evaluating, and maintaining education facilities data. It includes best practices for the design, development, implementation, and use of facilities management information systems, along with a list of standard data elements.
|PDF (10.6 MB)|
|Forum Guide to Ensuring Equal Access to Education Websites (2011)
This resource guides education institutions in improving the accessibility of websites and other electronic information technology, and in complying with accessibility standards and laws.
|PDF (1.8 MB)||Print Copy|
|Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book IV: Advanced LDS Usage (2011)
This document, the final installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), addresses issues important to the effective use of longitudinal data.
|PDF (1.8 MB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data
The Forum Guide to Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data focuses on the use of crime, violence, and discipline data to improve school safety.
|PDF (1.8 MB)||Print Copy|
|Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book III: Effectively Managing LDS Data (2011)
This document, the third installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), addresses the management of data.
|PDF (4.5 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book II: Planning and Developing an LDS (2011)
This document, the second installment of a four-part Forum Guide series on longitudinal data systems (LDS), discusses the critical planning and development phases of an LDS project.
|PDF (1.9 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Traveling Through Time: The Forum Guide to Longitudinal Data Systems, Book I: What is an LDS? (2010)
By facilitating the collection and use of detailed, high quality student- and staff-level data linked over time, longitudinal data systems (LDSs) hold promise for enhancing both the way education agencies use data to serve students and the way they do business, from the policy level to the school office and into the classroom.
|PDF (6MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|The Forum Guide to Data Ethics (2010)
Each and every day, educators collect and use data about students, staff, and schools. Some of these data originate in individual student and staff records that are confidential or otherwise sensitive.
|PDF (1.6 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students (2010)
This document provides guidelines that can be used by elementary and secondary education agencies to establish policies and procedures for collecting and managing education data before, during, and after a crisis.
|PDF (2.1 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Forum Guide to Metadata: The Meaning Behind Education Data (2009)
This document offers best practice concepts, definitions, implementation strategies, and templates/tools for an audience of data, technology, and program staff in state and local education agencies.
|PDF (2.4 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data (2009)
This Forum guide offers best practice suggestions on collecting and using student attendance data to improve performance. It includes a standard set of codes to make attendance data comparable across districts and states.
|PDF (1.7 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Managing an Identity Crisis: Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories (2008)
This best-practice guide is developed to assist state and local education agencies in their implementation of the new federal race and ethnicity categories—thereby reducing redundant efforts within and across states, improving data comparability, and minimizing reporting burden.
|PDF (6 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Forum Guide to Core Finance Data Elements (2007)
This document provides an overview of key finance data terms. It also covers the 2 NCES public school finance surveys: the state-level National Public Education Financial Survey and the School District Finance Survey (or F-33).
|PDF (2.4 MB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data: A Resource for Local Education Agencies (2007)
This curriculum supports efforts to improve the quality of education data by serving as training materials for K-12 school and district staff.
|PDF (1 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Forum Guide to Decision Support Systems: A Resource for Educators (2006)
This document was developed to remedy the lack of reliable, objective information available to the education community about decision support systems.
|PDF (765 KB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Guide to Elementary/Secondary Virtual Education (2006)
This guide provides recommendations for collecting accurate, comparable, and useful data about virtual education in an elementary/secondary education setting.
|PDF (842 KB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information: A Resource for Schools (2006)
This guide helps school and local education agency staff to better understand and apply FERPA, a federal law that protects privacy interests of parents and students in student education records.
|PDF (1.1 MB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Accounting for Every Student: A Taxonomy for Standard Student Exit Codes (2006)
This "best practice" guide 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.
|PDF (1 MB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Guide to Education Indicators (2005)
The Forum Guide to Education Indicators provides encyclopedia-type entries for 44 commonly used education indicators. Each indicator entry contains a definition, recommended uses, usage caveats and cautions, related policy questions, data element components, a formula, commonly reported subgroups, and display suggestions.
|PDF (1 MB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Unified Education Technology Suite (2005)
The Forum Unified Education Technology Suite presents a practical, comprehensive, and tested approach to assessing, acquiring, instituting, managing, securing, and using technology in education settings.
|Link||Print version not available|
|Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource (2005)
There has been a growing awareness that effective teaching, efficient schools, and quality data are linked. A "Culture of Quality Data" is the belief that good data are an integral part of teaching, learning and managing the school enterprise.
|PDF (1 MB)||Print Copy|
|Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies (2004)
This Guide presents a general overview of privacy laws and professional practices that apply to information collected for, and maintained in, student records.
|PDF (700 KB)||Print version not available||Browse|
|Facilities Information Management: A Guide for State and Local Education Agencies (2003)
This Guide provides a framework for identifying a basic set of school facilities data elements and definitions that will meet the information needs of school and community decision makers, school facility managers, and the general public.
|PDF (577 KB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities (2003)
This Guide was prepared by members of the National Forum on Education Statistics to help school facilities managers plan for efficient and effective operations.
|PDF (1.5 MB)||Print version not available||Browse|
|Safety in Numbers: Collecting and Using Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data to Make a Difference in Schools (2002)
This document is designed for use by school, district, and state staff to improve the effectiveness of their efforts to collect and use disciplinary incident data.
|PDF (491 KB)||Print Copy||Browse|
|Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records (2000)
This report discusses key concepts in protecting and managing information in staff records. It does not provide legal guidelines, but does address the federal Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts and offers principles of best practice.
|PDF (390 KB)||Print version not available|
|Building an Automated Student Record System (2000)
This document was developed as a stand-alone resource for local and state education agencies faced with the task of designing a new, or upgrading an existing, automated student information system.
|PDF (588 KB)||Print version not available||Browse|
|Standards for Education Data Collection and Reporting (SEDCAR) (1991)
This document describes education data collection and reporting standards through the combined efforts of data providers, producers, and users at the local, state, and federal levels.
|PDF (7.5 MB)||Print version not available|
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.