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Summer Forum 2005 Meeting Notes

National Forum on Education Statistics
July 25-27, 2005
Washington, DC

Opening General Session Summary
Closing General Session Summary
Steering Committee Meeting Summary
PPI Meeting Summary
NESAC Meeting Summary
TECH Meeting Summary

Opening General Session Summary

Monday, July 25, 2005

Opening and Welcome

Forum Chair Blair Loudat (North Clackamas Schools, OR) called the Forum to order, welcomed participants, shared opening remarks, and reviewed the agenda.

NCES Update: Grover J. Whitehurst, Director, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and Acting Commissioner, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Acting Commissioner, Grover J. Whitehurst, updated Forum members on recent events and future plans at IES and NCES.

  • IES received applications from 45 states for its recent "Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant" competition. The review panel will be convened in September 2005.
    • An additional $25,000,000 is currently in the FY 2006 budget for a second round of awards (although the budget has not yet been finalized by Congress).
  • Graduation rates have been receiving a great deal of attention over the past year. In response to rising interest in this issue, the U.S. Department of Education will soon publish, alongside states' currently reported graduation rates, an interim estimator known as the "Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate."
  • In 2004, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as "the Nation's Report Card," administered the latest long-term trend assessment to approximately 75,000 students at ages 9, 13, and 17 in public and nonpublic schools throughout the nation. The average reading scores of students at ages 9 and 13 were higher in 2004 than in 1971. The average mathematics scores of students at ages 9 and 13 were higher in 2004 than in 1973. More information about recently released NAEP results.
  • NCES currently produces nearly 390 publications annually. Many of these reports have lag times of up to 18 months between data collection and reporting. Plans are underway to focus resources on a smaller number of publications in order to achieve a 12-14 month turn-around from data collection to reporting.
  • Many NCES surveys will soon have web-based analysis tools available for public use.
  • NCES is working to coordinate CCD and EDEN collections.
  • The National Governors Association is recommending that states report a true cohort graduation rate—accomplishing this will require longitudinal data (see the"Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant" competition above).
  • A new NCES Commissioner will be named in the very near future.

Forum Strategic Planning

Forum Vice-chair Bill Smith (Sioux Falls School District, SD) facilitated a one-hour strategic planning session in which Forum members responded to three questions as they relate to a revision of the Forum Strategic Plan:

  • What things are going well in the Forum?
  • What are current challenges or ongoing concerns related to the Forum's mission to develop and recommend strategies for building quality education data systems?
  • What are possible actions that need to be considered to meet the Forum's mission?

Forum members gathered in groups of 8-10 to discuss responses to these questions. Opinions were recorded and organized to help guide additional conversation during standing committee meetings. Based on these ideas, each standing committee developed an "Action Plan" of three tasks that can be achieved during the next 6-12 months.


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


Closing General Session Summary
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

U.S. Department of Education (ED) Update: Tom Luce, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development

Tom Luce, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development spoke about his new position and his priorities while in that position.

  • Mr. Luce will focus his efforts on developing and coordinating K-12 and higher education policy at the Department, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the President's high school reform initiative, and special education coordination.
  • Mr. Luce agrees with Secretary Spellings that decision making throughout education should be driven by data. This requires the creation of "actionable data"—i.e., data that is accessible to users in a format that is useful. For example, assessment data should inform future teaching and learning.
  • Mr. Luce said that his top priority will be to eliminate redundant data collections. This will be accomplished by reviewing each piece of data, department by department, to see whether each data request is necessary and, if so, how to best collect it. If it is not necessary (or duplicative), the request will be eliminated.
  • Mr. Luce also believes it makes sense to identify which data practices are "best in class" with respect to utility and then encourage others to adopt similar practices.

Standing Committee Progress Reports

Task Force Reports

  • Decision Support Literacy: Co-Chair Raymond Yeagley (Rochester Schools, NH) reported that the task force has both narrowed and expanded the scope of various parts of its publication. The group expects to produce a report by December 2005 that will be fully interactive and will include flash applications.
  • Exit Codes: Chair Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education) reported that the exit codes publication is close to completion. A final draft will be available for Forum review on the Forum Review Drafts page by the middle of September. The task force hopes that the final publication will be released in December 2005.
  • Data Quality Curriculum: Co-chair Lee Tack (Iowa Department of Education) reported that the working group has been approved by both PPI and the Forum Steering Committee, and is now a task force. The task force will create a professional development curriculum for local education agency staff based on the previously released Forum publication, the Forum Guide to Building a Culture of Quality Data: A School and District Resource. The task force hopes to develop a first draft of its product by September 2005 and release a final product by December 2006
  • Virtual Education: Co-Chair Blair Loudat (North Clackamas School District, OR) reported that the task force expects that the Forum Guide to Virtual Education: In Search of High Quality Data to Support Distance Learning will be available for public review in October 2005. Depending on feedback gathered during the review, the task force hopes to ask the Forum for approval at or prior to the February 2006 Forum Winter Forum Meeting.

New Officers

The following slate of officers was elected to serve during the 2005-2006 year:

  • Forum Chair: Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (SD)
  • Forum Vice-Chair: Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Immediate Past Chair: Blair Loudat, North Clackamas Schools (OR)
    • Chair: David Uhlig, Charlottesville City Public Schools (VA)
    • Vice-Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
  • PPI
    • Chair: Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
    • Vice-Chair: Robert Beecham, Nebraska Department of Education
  • TECH
    • Chair: Bertha Doar, Rockwood School District (MO)
    • Vice-Chair: Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education

Forum Recognition

  • Forum Chair Blair Loudat and Vice Chair Bill Smith presented "Certificates of Recognition" to the 2004-2005 Forum Officers and members of the Education Indicators Task Force for their service.

Closing Remarks

  • Forum Chair Blair Loudat closed the Summer 2005 Forum Meeting by thanking Forum members for their commitment and hard work. She invited everyone to attend the Winter 2006 Forum Meeting in Orlando, FL on February 21-22, 2006.


Steering Committee Meeting Summary

Monday, July 25, 2005

Welcome and Introductions

Forum Chair Blair Loudat (North Clackamas Schools, OR) welcomed the Steering Committee to the meeting and the Summer 2005 Forum Meeting.

Forum Strategic Planning Session: Vice-Chair Bill Smith

Forum Vice-chair Bill Smith (Sioux Falls School District, SD) reported that he was pleased with the one-hour strategic planning session during the Opening Session. Forum members responded to the following three questions as they relate to a revision of the Forum Strategic Plan:

  • What things are going well in the Forum?
  • What are current challenges or ongoing concerns related to the Forum's mission to develop and recommend strategies for building quality education data systems?
  • What are possible actions that need to be considered to meet the Forum's mission?

Forum members generated responses to these questions. Standing committee Chairs were asked to distribute the responses and, based on these ideas, develop an "Action Plan" of three tasks that can be achieved by the standing committee during the next 6-12 months.

Bill stressed that the Steering Committee must follow up on this effort in order to confirm the value of Forum member ideas and opinions.

New Member Orientation

The New Member Orientation seemed to go very well. The Steering Committee agreed that this type of session should be held at every Forum meeting (i.e., at both Summer and Winter Meetings).

SIFA Data Model Project

Lee Hoffman (NCES) explained that the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA) is developing a basic, general data model that identifies data elements and relationships at the school district-level.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Association Membership

Ghedam Bairu (NCES) reported that outreach letters were sent to many associations. There were a few responses—most notably, Michael Hill (Deputy Director, National Association of State Boards of Education) attended the Forum meeting and has expressed interest in our publications and activities.

Strategic Planning—Standing Committee Action Plans

Each of the three standing committees developed an "Action Plan" of three tasks that can be achieved during the next 6-12 months. In response to suggestions from all three standing committees, the Steering Committee will establish a Communications Subcommittee. Plans and activities will be determined throughout the course of the next few months.

Data Information Review Working Group (DIRWG)

Deborah Newby (CCSSO) reported that the U.S. Department of Education's Data Information Review Working Group (DIRWIG) has not held a meeting recently and does not have any meetings planned.

Race/Ethnicity Guidance

NESAC asked that the Steering Committee send a letter to ED Secretary Margaret Spellings that requests guidance about race/ethnicity. The Steering Committee agreed to send the letter.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

New Officers

The following slate of officers was elected to serve during the 2005-2006 year:

  • Forum Chair: Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (SD)
  • Forum Vice-Chair: Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Immediate Past Chair: Blair Loudat, North Clackamas Schools (OR)
    • Chair: David Uhlig, Charlottesville City Public Schools (VA)
    • Vice-Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education
  • PPI
    • Chair: Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
    • Vice-Chair: Bob Beecham, Nebraska Department of Education
  • TECH
    • Chair: Bertha Doar, Rockwood School District (MO)
    • Vice-Chair: Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education

Strategic Planning

The Strategic Planning working document (i.e., the list of ideas and opinions generated by Forum members) is a rich resource. It should be valid for about 2 years, so it can be useful for both short- and long-term planning. Standing committee chairs/vice-chairs should complete the Action Plans by August 8. Ghedam will forward a copy of the Action Plans to all Forum members.

Meeting Format

  • All future Forum meetings should include the following components:
  • Round Tables
  • New Member Orientation Session
  • General Sessions of interest across standing committees
  • LeRoy Rooker (FERPA) will be invited to speak to the Forum at the Winter 2006 Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
  • Bill Smith suggested that the Steering Committee and standing committee officers be prepared to report progress on our Action Plan items in February 2006 as well.

Forum Communications

  • Members of the Communications Subcommittee are still being identified.
  • We will want to increase the number of listserv contacts with our members. An e-mail update should be sent once a month or so to announce the release of Forum publications, the addition of materials on the website, or other significant news.
  • We'll also want to increase outreach efforts to organizations outside the Forum

Scheduled Conference Calls

  • The Steering Committee agreed to schedule bi-monthly conference calls. Members should allot one hour (between 2:00 and 3:00 pm EST) on the third Friday of each month. As such, the first call is set for September 16, 2005. An email will be sent one week in advance of scheduled calls if there are not any agenda items (i.e., to cancel the call).

Other Issues

  • Ghedam will send copies of publications, brochures, etc., and a thank you letter to Tom Luce and his assistant.
  • Ghedam will make sure that letters are sent to thank Forum members' supervisors for allowing Forum representatives to share their time and expertise with our organization.

Ghedam will send a reminder to all mentors to follow up with their mentees.


PPI Meeting Summary

Monday, July 25, 2005

Welcome and Introductions

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

Request to Form a Data Quality Curriculum Task Force

Project consultant Michael Derman (Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, PA) presented an early draft of the curriculum framework developed by the working group and explained the work plan.

  • Lee Tack (Iowa Department of Education) asked for additional people, especially LEA representatives, to join the task force and for additional instructional materials on data quality training.
  • David Kosty (Oregon Department of Education) suggested that the materials incorporate a regional strategy.
  • Susan VanGorden made a motion to create a Data Quality Curriculum Task Force. The motion was approved unanimously.

Election of PPI Officers

PPI elected its officers for the 2005-2006 year.

  • Chair: Susan VanGorden, Lakota Local School District (OH)
  • Vice-Chair: Bob Beecham, Nebraska Department of Education

Susan and Bob were elected unanimously.

Special Task Order Update

Jerry Hottinger provided an update on Pennsylvania's Task Order Award.

  • The project is now in Phase Three.
  • They are working with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (PA) to codify the elements for SIF.
  • Phase One was limited to data elements from three districts in order to ensure that the work strategy was sound.
  • Phase Two was intended to codify fiscal elements.
  • Phase Three will code all student elements.
  • An RFP is almost ready for public release.
  • This project will develop a crosswalk between NCES, SIF, and Pennsylvania's elements.
  • They will work on a visualization project so that all elements will flow together well.
  • They will be refining data elements in the state data dictionary to eliminate unnecessary elements.
  • Members asked whether Pennsylvania ran into silo type data issues. Jerry responded that they have with the Federal data elements. The administrators in his state will try to mediate the issues.

Brian Wilmot (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) and Patricia Anderson (District of Columbia Public Schools) volunteered to be PPI reviewers for the next review of State Task Order Proposals. The review will take place online. The deadline is September 19 for proposals. Within ten days of reception, the proposals are sent out to reviewers. Within two weeks, reviewers are expected to return their reviews to NCES.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Joint Session - Course Code Classification System

Lee Hoffman (NCES) introduced Denise Bradby of MPR Associates. Denise discussed the development of a course code classification system that streamlines and updates the Pilot National Course Code Classification System developed in 1993.

  • Phase One of the project included a series of interviews with all types of stakeholders. In Phase Two, course descriptions were developed.
  • The classification system is currently in Phases Three and Four, during which planners hope to expand the classification system to middle school courses and elementary school entities. They also hope to develop a crosswalk between the new system and the Classification of Secondary School Courses (CSSC), a tool currently used to code for NAEP and transcript studies.

FERPA Update

Ellen Campbell shared an update on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

  • She reviewed several letters that are accessible on the FERPA website.
  • The first letter asked whether an educational agency or institution can bypass a FERPA hearing and instead require a parent to proceed directly to a due process hearing before a state administrative law judge under state special education regulations.
  • Another letter asked questions about the FERPA applicability regarding disclosures to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Ms. Campbell said that the Department will refrain from any FERPA-driven enforcement action under circumstances in which an educational agency or institution has provided education records to officers of the Department of Homeland Security intending to carry out the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program.
  • Ms. Campbell reviewed another letter about a school having the right to give school records to an outside attorney. She noted that a school can send information to an attorney if the school hired the attorney to support official school duties.
  • There is no research exception under FERPA, but privacy releases can be valid for an audit or evaluation of a state's programs.

Updates on EDEN and DARS

Hugh Walkup and Pat Sherrill provided updates on EDEN (Education Data Exchange Network) and DARS (Data Analysis and Reporting Tools).

  • Hugh showed a series of charts that illustrated what EDEN allows (e.g., searching funding by "types of schools" or "performance levels of schools").
  • The tools can also produce reports to see if Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is met.
  • Cognos Software is the platform for the project.
  • The EDEN system is beginning to enable basic "data mining."
  • If a state can submit a report via EDEN, it does not have to report the data via other means.

Pat Sherrill presented updates on DARS (Data Analysis and Reporting Tools).

  • The first supply of data was due at the end of July.
  • On August 12, technical corrections will be obtained.
  • The system will undergo OMB approval in September.
  • Training will occur last week of October and first week in November.

NCES Handbooks Online Update

Ghedam Bairu introduced Tolani Adeboye (Council of Chief State School Officers) and Beth Young (Quality Information Partners) who presented an update on the NCES Handbooks Online. This database replaces the former print handbooks produced by NCES. It provides standard definitions and code sets for data elements commonly collected by local and state education agencies.

  • Version 3.0 will be live in the fall. The new version offers the following features:
    • Introduction of changed codes—A list to help identify what has changed from the previous version of the Handbook and distinguish between minor changes (e.g., editorial corrections) and substantive content changes.
    • Mapping function—Flags will be added to data elements needed for the EDEN and CCD collections.
    • New content was added for food services and technology.
  • Plans for Version 4.0 (next year) include:
    • The current work being done on the course codes classification system will be incorporated into the Handbooks (currently an appendix).
    • The exit codes developed by the Forum Exit Codes Task Force will also be incorporated into the Handbooks.
    • New content will be developed for assessment, early childhood, and virtual education.
    • A customization tool for states to adapt the NCES Handbooks Online to their own needs is being investigated. North Dakota has created such a tool.
  • PPI asked if they could create a PowerPoint presentation on Version 3.0 so they could explain and demonstrate the NCES Handbooks Online in their states.

Strategic Planning Follow-Up Session

PPI members considered how they can improve the Forum and what they would like the steering committee to address in the next year. The following items were agreed upon:

  • Consider expanding traditional the Forum's K-12 focus to include early childhood and postsecondary education.
  • Invite the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) to Forum meetings.
  • Develop sessions with NPEC at the Forum meetings.
  • Reemphasize outreach/public relations.
  • Encourage the steering committee and individual Forum members to conduct outreach on behalf of the Forum (e.g. presentations at national conferences like ASBO).
  • Think about forming a formal group (e.g., a standing committee and/or workgroup/task force) exclusively for outreach work.
  • Encourage task forces to make connections to other organizations/agencies that give grants.
  • Focus outreach/public relations on school districts.
  • Establish an online directory/link to all involved organizations/agencies and identify Forum representatives from other organizations.
  • Invite other organization's websites to link to the Forum's website.
  • Reinstate the SEA survey to facilitate communications between states.
  • Rewrite the mission and vision of the Forum.
  • Develop a FERPA toolkit targeting state, district, and school levels.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Steering Committee Update

Susan VanGorden provided a steering committee report:

  • Nominations of chairs of other standing committees were announced.
  • Ghedam Bairu (NCES) provided an update on outreach. She was able to make contact with a few associations.
  • DIRWG is currently inactive.
  • Strategic Planning Update
    • PPI's strategic planning ideas were very similar to TECH's.
    • The Steering committee will institute a Communications Subcommittee.
    • New member orientation will occur at the Winter Forum.

Strategic Planning Action Items for PPI

PPI has been charged by the steering committee to handle the toolkit for FERPA and the Data Request coordination.

  • Develop a FERPA Toolkit at the District, State and Federal level.
    • Persons Responsible: Judy Fillion, Mary Guervase, Mary DeGarmo, Eva Chunn, Lavette Williams, Steve Solis volunteered as members.
  • Enhance the coordination and efficient utilization of data with Federal, State and other entities.
    • Persons Responsible: Bruce Dacey, Beth Juillerat, Anne Brison, Brian Wilmot, Margaret Ropp, and Ron Danforth volunteered as members.
  • Each committee should attempt to complete its activities by the Summer Forum in 2006. They should be able to provide progress reports in the Winter Forum.


NESAC Meeting Summary

Monday, July 25, 2005

Welcome and Agenda Review

Chair Brad James (Vermont Department of Education) opened the meeting by asking participants to introduce themselves. He then reviewed the Forum and NESAC agendas.

Special Task Order Reports

  • Vermont
    • Vermont is developing guidelines for improving data reporting at the district level. As such, six supervisory unions were visited during a review of reporting procedures. A list of issues compiled during these visits revealed numerous problems/issues common to many organizations.
    • The biggest problem identified dealt with data entry technicians not having the technical training needed for their responsibilities.
    • Best practice guidelines are scheduled to be printed and sent to school districts in September.
  • Utah
    • Utah is improving its web-based data mart, CUSAP.
    • The plan is to move away from program-based data storage, and have all program data available in one place so student progress can be better assessed by schools, districts, and the state education office.
    • Program staff are now extracting, transforming, and loading data into a database accessible through the CUSAP application.
  • Anne Brinson (Indiana SEA) volunteered to assist during the review of Forum Task Order applications.

Task Force Reports

  • Education Indicators Task Force—Steven King (Wyoming Department of Education)
  • Exit Codes Task Force—Wes Bruce (Indiana Department of Education)
    • The task force is in its final stages of work. The external review period just ended.
    • The publication will be posted in late August for 3-4 weeks for Forum review. It should be completed by the Winter Forum/MIS Conference.

Nominations for Chair and Vice-chair

  • Chair: David Uhlig, Charlottesville City Public Schools (VA)
  • Vice-Chair: Sonya Edwards, California Department of Education

Dave and Sonya were elected unanimously.

Open Discussion of Forum Strategic Plan and General Issues in SEAs/LEAs

  • The Forum needs a standard process for disseminating its products.
  • The Forum needs to improve its interactions with the associate members.
  • Feedback is needed—How do we know if the Forum products and resources are working at the LEA and SEA levels?
  • Positive aspects of the Forum—Different perspectives form LEAs and SEAs work well together. We usually develop very useful products.
  • At the LEA level, the demand for data collections is coming at a fast pace. Where are the data going? Where does it end up? What's the payback for the LEA?
  • How much of a voice does the Forum have on influencing data collections? Is it possible to have a stronger presence and voice at the national level? Could the Forum identify groups that have a strong voice nationally and invite them to speak/participate?
  • States aren't involved in the planning of data collections and feel disconnected from federal offices when they are initiating data collection efforts.
  • There needs to be a place (on the Forum website or somewhere else) where states can highlight their accomplishments so that other states can seek guidance on best practices.
  • There have been several instances in which responses to listserv queries have not been compiled and distributed after feedback was given. Would a message board be more useful than a listserv? Use of the listserv should be encouraged. Sometimes people forget that it and a WebBoard are available to Forum members as a communications tool.
  • The technology survey conducted a few years ago was useful. Should this become an annual survey? Are results of the survey still available?
  • Race Ethnicity Codes: A recent NAEP presentation incorrectly stated that the new codes would be used for Fall collections. Changing codes will impact ability to conduct longitudinal analyses. A request was made that the steering committee send another letter to the U.S. Department of Education to request a status report on the implementation of the new race/ethnicity codes.
  • Forum members should review the Federal Register for information on proposed data collections.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Joint Session - Course Code Classification System

This presentation was given to all three standing committees. See a description of the Joint Session - Course Code Classification System in the PPI notes above.

Small Group Discussion of the Forum Strategic Plan

Chair Brad James asked that participants form six groups to discuss possible action items identified during the Forum Strategic Planning process. The small groups were to report their recommendations after lunch.

NCES Proposed Postsecondary Student Record Database

Dennis Carroll, Associate Commissioner of NCES, reported on a feasibility study about a postsecondary student record system.

  • The NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDES) contains student enrollment counts, student financial aid, and graduations rates data.
  • There are challenges in collecting data on postsecondary students. One of every three bachelor's degree recipients has attended more than one institution. The stop-out rate (lack of persistence) is high (60%). It is a challenge to track individual students throughout their postsecondary education. (Students receiving aid and tax credits are easiest to track.) It is virtually impossible to calculate accurate graduation rates at the postsecondary level.
  • The National Student Clearinghouse reports unit level data for students receiving loans. A student record system was proposed for ALL postsecondary students. It would involve collecting transactional files based on a unique student identifier, including enrollment, completion, and financial aid transactions.
  • The problem is that institutions don't normally create these files, and they would need to be collected from three offices within a single institution. Often, those three offices don't communicate with each other. However, within 3 to 5 years the system should be less burdensome then the current system. Institutions cited the cost of providing the data as a problem.
  • The most insurmountable problem associated with collecting student record data is privacy. NCES proposed creating a 14-digit-based bar code number for students to address the privacy concern. This would address the duplication problem. Simulations using the bar code produced one half of 1% error rate, due to a check digit.
  • Congress did not support the idea of creating the system. Thus, collecting data on postsecondary students will remain unchanged even though the current IPEDS collection is actually more burdensome than the proposed student record system.
  • There was no discussion about connecting the proposed postsecondary system with state student information systems. The work would have been done under the Higher Education Act.

Action items that can be set as goals for Forum Strategic Plan

The small group reports included in the following recommendations for action items:

  • Look for models of successful dissemination of Forum products.
  • Federal Register: Share information from the Federal Register with the Forum. Provide a workshop on how to read and respond to notices in the Federal Register.
  • Get federal Program Offices more involved in the Forum. We should provide them with a list of "hot topics" of interest to Forum members so that the Program Offices can send representatives who can offer direct and useful responses to our questions.
  • Develop a FERPA tool kit for quick reference.
  • Convince state Forum representatives to communicate Forum issues to their superintendents.
  • Conduct an inventory of Forum members' membership in other professional organizations in order to help with outreach efforts.
  • Look beyond K-12 to early childhood and postsecondary for student tracking.
  • Provide guidance for Forum outreach at the state legislative level. Develop 'how to' guidance for being an ambassador for the Forum. It would be most effective to have both LEA and SEA representatives be on a single outreach team.
  • Track who is downloading publications from the Forum website.
  • Use the Forum Overview PowerPoint presentation. This presentation can be used by Forum members when talking to others within their SEAs and LEAs.
  • Forum members can put a tagline on their email signatures—'Member, NCES Forum'

Brad stated that he would share these recommendations with the Steering Committee at their next meeting.

NCES Handbooks Online

This presentation was given to all three standing committees. See a description of the NCES Handbooks Online session in the PPI notes above.

The Education Data Exchange Network

Hugh Walkup and Pat Sherrill provided an update on EDEN.

  • From the end of March through the beginning of May, program offices were given the opportunity to look at the EDEN data analysis and reporting tools using data available from the states. There are still many holes in the state data in EDEN.
  • Senior level staff have expressed a strong commitment to making EDEN work. Secretary Margaret Spellings is aware of PBDMI/EDEN and appointed Tom Luce as assistant secretary in charge of policy and budget, including EDEN. Luce worked with the Texas education reform commission beginning in 1983. He later founded Just for the Kids, which has gathered and disseminated data and developed publications on using data to improve education.
  • The initial 60-day comment period for the Office of Management and Budget to clear the 05-06 data elements ended July 22. The Department expects to have corrections made and public comments from the first public review available in mid-August. There will be a 30-day review period for that. (This will be announced in the Federal Register.) The 05-06 EDEN data elements should be final by mid-September. The goal is to limit the number of changes from the data elements used for 03-04 and 04-05 data.
  • ED and CCSSO are scheduling EDEN training in the last week of October and the first week of November.
  • The 05-06 data will be collected from states as it becomes available. This will be the first year this is done and the 'calendar' is still being developed. The Department would still like to receive any missing 03-04 and 04-05 data from states.
  • ED is working on a plan to allow states that have provided data to be able to lessen their data submissions to the program offices. States who don't provide data won't receive the benefit.

CCD Update and History

John Sietsema (NCES) reported on the Common Core of Data..

  • There are no penalties related to not submitting data into CCD. However, all states submit data; most of them respond by the end of the school year. NCES will not publish state data files until everything is received (from all districts). CCD provides unbiased information for educators, researchers, and the general public. The CCD data set is very popular and widely used. All files are totally downloadable. Nothing is restricted or prohibited at this point.
  • CCD coordinators should be proactive in the promotion and use of CCD as a source of comparative external data and a display window for your own state's data.
  • The federal government first began collecting CCD-type information in 1867. At that point, the data was purely anecdotal and submitted as letters from the state superintendents. The collection became standardized in 1965.
  • Several Federal programs rely on the CCD ID numbers to provide basic information on schools and districts applying for program funds. Several charitable foundations use CCD lists and information in selecting schools and districts to receive instructional equipment and materials.
  • A web-based collection was initiated for 04-05 CCD. It opened late due to technical problems. However, the collection is nearly back on schedule.
  • LEAs should make sure the state CCD coordinator knows about new schools being planned so that they can obtain a number and locale code for the new schools. There are no negative repercussions for a request for a number for a school that ends up not opening. Schools opening in fall 05-06 should be reported now.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Brad James reported on the outcomes of the Steering Committee meeting regarding follow up to the proposed action items for the Forum Strategic Plan.

  • A letter will go out from the Steering Committee to ED to request an update on the new race/ethnicity codes implementation schedule.
  • K-16 efforts will entail a large amount of work from states, and was not viewed as a short-term goal by the Steering Committee. The Forum is already working on transcript issues (through the TECH committee).
  • A subcommittee of the Steering Committee will be established to focus on Forum outreach efforts
  • The four achievable goals selected from NESAC for implementation were:
    • Develop a workshop on using the Federal Register (Steve King, Sonya Edwards, Sherrill Martinez)
    • Promote the use of a tagline on Forum members' email signatures (Brad James)
    • Survey Forum members to identify other organizations to which they belong (David Uhlig)
    • Promote the existing Forum PowerPoint (Steering Committee)
  • The idea of surveying individuals who download Forum products from the Forum website was discussed, but Federal guidelines prevent this from being done

Following the discussion of the Steering Committee report, David Uhlig (Charlottesville City Public Schools, VA) demonstrated two web-based systems recently built for his district. A district-level data warehouse was developed using Business Objects software. It offers some canned reports, as well as a query function. In addition, a new online assessment site is available for teachers and administrators. Teachers may use the site for scoring and compiling student grades.


TECH Meeting Summary

Monday, July 25, 2005

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Derrick Lindsay (Mississippi Department of Education) called the meeting to order, reviewed the meeting agenda, and asked participants to introduce themselves.

Collaboration: State to State

  • Mary Ann Wolf of the State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA) gave a brief presentation about issues that impede communications across departments within an SEA (e.g., across IT/MIS, assessment, and educational technology divisions). She asked whether Forum members, SIF members, SETDA members, and people who attend the CCSSO assessment conference could be convened to discuss this topic.
  • In the discussion that ensued, members of the committee expressed their frustrations in trying to work across departments within their agencies.
  • TECH will explore the possibility of collaborating with SEDTA on this issue.

Election of New Officers

Derrick Lindsay asked that Andy Rogers (ESSI) describe the process for electing standing committee officers. The following slate of officers was recommended for TECH in 2005-2006:

  • Chair: Bertha Doar, Rockwood School District (MO)
  • Vice-Chair: Jeff Stowe, Arizona Department of Education

Bertha and Jeff were elected unanimously.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Roundtable Feedback

Forum members had an opportunity to attend two (of four) task force roundtable discussions to become familiar with the work of these groups. These included:

TECH committee members felt that the roundtable sessions were very productive.

Joint Session - Course Code Classification System

This presentation was given to all three standing committees. See a description of the Joint Session - Course Code Classification System in the PPI notes above.

NCES Handbooks Online

This presentation was given to all three standing committees. See a description of the NCES Handbooks Online session in the PPI notes above.

Task Force Reports

  • Virtual Education (Co-Chair Derrick Lindsay, Mississippi Department of Education)
    • The task force is looking at an October review of the product by external focus groups. The draft will be posted on the Forum website Public Review Drafts page in September.
  • Decision Support Literacy (Chair Tom Ogle, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
    • The goal of the task force is to have a web-based product released in December 2005.

Bringing Data Home: What is the cycle of data?

  • Derrick Lindsay opened a discussion about data flow and the difficulties that arise when the timing of requests for data from the federal government does not reflect a SEA's schedule for providing its highest quality data.
  • The Committee asked a group of members to form a "virtual" workgroup to discuss issues associated with the cycle of data. Volunteers to help with the virtual workgroup included Derrick Lindsay, Marilyn Grunwald, Blair Loudat, Madalyn Quinlan, Joe Egan, and Roger Young.
  • One of the recommendations was to draft a letter to the Office of the Chief Information Officer concerning this issue.
  • The work group will also look into finding (or creating) a calendar of federal education collection dates.
  • The work group will report back at the meeting in February.

Strategic Planning Session Summary

Derrick Lindsay asked that TECH come to a consensus on the top five possible actions that need to be considered to meet the Forum's Mission.

Electronic Transcripts

  • Postsecondary
    • Michael Sessa of the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) shared a presentation about the PESC's mission (to lead agencies in adopting and implementing standards for data) and goal (the reusability of data). For more information contact
  • SIFA E-Transcript Committee
    • Judi Barnett of Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA) shared a presentation about the creation of an E-task force that deals with various groups working on the design of education data elements, transcripts, and transmission formats. The task force is currently identifying new objects to support high school to high school point transcript exchanges.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

National Data Initiatives

TECH would like to establish a mechanism for receiving regular updates about national data initiatives (e.g., from NCES, OCIO, SIFA, etc.). It would be good if the Forum could find a way to get the leaders of these various initiatives in the same room at the same time to hear what one another is saying.

What is everyone talking about? Or, what do these words really mean?

Derrick Lindsay discussed differences between various application systems and raised the question: Do we, as individual states, need to develop a process for defining what these various systems can be expected to accomplish?. System terms included:

  • Student Information System (SIS)
  • Decision Support System (DSS)
  • Score Cards
  • Collection versus Reporting Systems
  • Student Data Management Systems (SDMS)
  • Assessment Systems (Formative, Summative, Growth, Status)
  • Business Intelligence Systems
  • Data Warehouse
  • Data Mart
  • Instructional/Curriculum Management Systems
  • Financial Systems
  • Student Plan/Portfolio Systems
  • Behavior Management Systems
  • Special Education Management Systems
  • Alternative Programs (Gifted/Talented, At-Risk, Community, etc.)
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • After-School Program Management
  • Grant Management Systems
  • Modules
  • School Improvement Planning
  • Personnel/HR
  • Certified Personnel
  • Teacher/Professional Development
  • Food, Nutrition, and Health

TECH members thought it would be appropriate for the Forum to clarify definitions of these systems (e.g., in the Technology Suite Glossary as well as to the upcoming Decision Support System publication). Doing so would help members explain their needs to vendors (as opposed to vendors adapting collection systems and calling them reporting systems for customers who might be looking for a reporting system).


Derrick Lindsay reviewed progress made during the TECH Committee meetings and gave committee members a preview of the standing committee report that would be delivered during the Forum Closing Session.

 Meeting Notes


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.