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Summer 2018 Forum Meeting Notes

National Forum on Education Statistics
July 23–August 1, 2018
Washington, DC

Forum Opening Session
Forum Welcome
Joint Session: Cybersecurity in State and Local Education Agencies (SEAs and LEAs)
Joint Session: Data Visualization and Forum Resources
National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC)
Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) Committee
Technology (TECH) Committee
Forum Closing Session
Steering Committee



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Forum Opening Session

Monday, July 23, 2018

 

Forum Agenda Review

Forum Chair Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) welcomed Forum members to the Summer 2018 Forum Meeting in Washington, DC, and thanked them for their time, work, and commitment over the past year.

Raymond highlighted three recent Forum accomplishments: the publication of the Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data, the Forum Guide to Reporting Civil Rights Data, and the Forum Guide to Facility Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies. He also recognized the Forum’s participation in several collaborative webinars with the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program, the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), and the Regional Educational Laboratories (REL). Raymond encouraged members to visit the Forum website and Forum360 for additional resources of interest.

Raymond introduced Dr. James Lynn Woodworth, Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

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Welcome and NCES Remarks

Dr. James “Lynn” Woodworth, the commissioner of NCES, thanked Forum members for their attendance at the meeting. Commissioner Woodworth provided an update on NCES work that focused on future NCES plans and activities:

  • Strong response rates are critical to ensuring that NCES data are representative and of high quality. The commissioner noted that state and local education agency (SEA and LEA) participation in NCES data collections is important, and encouraged Forum members to participate in data collections and share ideas for improving response rates.
  • Plans for new survey collections include leveraging administrative data for the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) and linking the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS). Plans for new cohort studies include the High School and Beyond 2020 (HS&B:2020) study and the next kindergarten cohort study.
  • Future plans and areas of focus for NCES include improving process data, such as data generated by NAEP digital assessments; leveraging geographic information systems (GIS), such as the Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) program’s use of spatial data; and improving measures of socioeconomic status (SES) through collaboration between NCES and the Census Bureau. Other plans include survey response rate studies, website improvements, timely data reporting and dissemination, and partner outreach.

Forum members were interested in learning more about NCES’s work on improved measures of SES and engaged Commissioner Woodworth in a discussion that focused on the implications of using geolocation information to measure SES, the frequency of data refreshes, the process of changing school location identifiers, the role of charter schools, strategies for using SES data to support students, methods for facilitating staff access to SES data, and strategies for counting homeless and highly transient students. Members were also interested in learning more about early findings from linking NAEP and NTPS, and the role of NCES during state and local emergencies and crises.

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Joint Session: Cybersecurity in State and Local Education Agencies (SEAs and LEAs)

S2018_Hernandez pdf file (44 KB)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Steven Hernandez, the chief information security officer of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), discussed cybersecurity in state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs). He began with an overview of the value of data–as determined by who has the data and what they can be used for–by providing illustrative examples of the potential value of personal computers, email, and organizational assets. Education information and education technologies can provide digital access to students, and so these are considered very valuable to attackers, as evidenced by cyber attacks against school districts and other educational institutions.

Steven provided practical countermeasures that SEAs and LEAs can take to protect against multiple types of cybersecurity threats. Ransomware is a type of malware that can compromise a computer, but it can be counteracted through preventive measures, including regularly backing up data, securing data backups, and conducting annual penetration tests and vulnerability assessments. Specific actions can also help minimize the spread of ransomware through an infected network. Business email compromise is a targeted scam that seeks to secure financial payment or the transfer of valuable information, such as tax information. Steven recommended being mindful of phone and email communications regarding financial payments and valuable organizational and personal information to help protect against business email compromise. Steven also shared best practice information that SEAs and LEAs can use to secure their data and information against cyber attacks. It is important to be proactive and take appropriate action before an intrusion occurs, such as by creating an action plan, having appropriate technology and services in place, and engaging with law enforcement. By building security in from the start, SEAs and LEAs can leverage technologies and systems to help prevent cybersecurity threats. Steven concluded by highlighting federal resources available through the U.S. Department of Education (including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer), Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and General Services Administration.

Forum members engaged Steven in a discussion that focused on strategies for ensuring that third–party applications are configured to meet Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requirements, for being proactive in addressing privacy and security issues, for handling security issues related to vendor contacts, and for creating secure networks that are open to students.

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Joint Session: Data Visualization and Forum Resources

S2018_Data_Visualization pdf file (752 KB)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Michael Hopkins (Rochester School Department [NH]), delivered an engaging session that highlighted best practices and principles for data visualization included in the Forum Guide to Data Visualization: A Resource for Education Agencies. Michael opened his presentation with a review of the Forum’s work on the topic of data visualization, as exhibited in this guide. The guide recommends data visualization practices that will help education agencies communicate data meaning in visual formats that are accessible, accurate, and actionable for a wide range of education stakeholders. The resource defines data visualization as the transformation of data into information through visual presentation and analysis. As an extension of this publication, the Forum is currently developing an online course to convey the document’s key lessons and principles to education agency staff in an online instructional setting. The first module, Introduction to Data Visualization, will introduce learners to the foundational concepts and practices of data visualization.

Michael explained how data visualization can improve data use in the field of education and illustrated how data visualization can be a sound method for analysts to use to identify trends, patterns, and cues in data. Michael presented several key principles and practical recommendations that will improve the effectiveness of any effort to visualize data for audiences who need to understand and use education data to make decisions. The four key principles–show the data, reduce the clutter, integrate images and text, and portray the data accurately and ethically–should be adhered to under all circumstances when developing visualizations, to ensure that data meaning is communicated effectively. Recommended practices are generally helpful but do not necessarily apply to all data visualizations in the same way as a key principle. Michael then described a six–step process for visualizing data for both analytical and communications purposes. The process begins with recognizing a question or information need and ends with refining the process of developing customized visualizations. Interim steps incorporate efforts to find the right data to address the issue, analyze those data to determine their meaning, customize the take-home message to meet audience needs, and present a visualization that is accurate and unambiguous. Using graduation rates as an example, Michael concluded his presentation by illustrating how key principles and recommendations for data visualization can be implemented in practice using the six-step process.

Throughout the presentation, Michael paused to give Forum members the opportunity to discuss data visualization in their agencies with their Forum colleagues. Following the presentation, Forum members engaged Michael in a discussion on the Forum Guide to Data Visualization: A Resource for Education Agencies and how data visualization can support stakeholder action on education data.

Allen Miedema (Northshore School District [WA]) and Susan Williams (Virginia Department of Education) then led the Forum in an interactive session that tested members' knowledge of Forum resources. This session was inspired by Susan and Marilyn King's (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) presentation at the Summer 2017 Forum meeting, Using Forum Products in Local and State Education Agencies. New and established Forum members answered questions about Forum best practice publications, online courses, videos, newsletters, and other member resources. Members also had an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Forum, Forum standing committees, the School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED), and collaborative efforts between the Forum and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education.

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Forum Closing Session

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Delaware Education Data Forum

S2018_Delaware_Education_Data_Forum pdf file (450 KB)

Ken Hutchins (Brandywine School District [DE]) and Adrian L. Peoples (Delaware Department of Education [DDOE]) discussed their work establishing and co–chairing the Delaware Education Data Forum. Adrian and Ken developed the idea for the Delaware Education Data Forum based on their experiences as the Delaware state and local education agency (SEA and LEA) Forum representatives and their desire to foster trust and cooperation between the SEA and LEAs in their state. They established the Delaware Education Data Forum in 2016 to focus on supporting Delaware students through improvements to student-level data. This jointly chaired group is modeled on the National Forum on Education Statistics.

The mission of the Delaware Education Data Forum is to promote clarity, confidence, and consensus on student–level data. The Delaware Education Data Forum is co–chaired by an SEA and LEA representative to ensure that the SEA and LEAs have equal responsibility, voice, and input on agenda-setting and decisionmaking; currently, Adrian serves as the SEA co–chair, and Ken serves as the LEA co–chair. In this role, Ken serves as a liaison for LEA communication with the SEA. By helping to facilitate communication between the SEA and LEAs, the LEA and SEA co–chairs can help ensure that minor issues are addressed before they become major concerns. The Delaware Education Data Forum meets for three hours each month, alternating between virtual meetings and in–person meetings at the DDOE. The small size of the state makes it relatively easy for LEAs to travel to the state capital to attend in–person meetings. The Delaware Education Data Forum also reserves time during in–person meetings for all LEA participants to meet without the SEA participants, which helps build relationships between LEAs who wouldn’t otherwise meet in person on a regular basis. The Delaware Education Data Forum is also taking steps to develop a professional learning community for LEAs to work on common issues.

Adrian and Ken engaged in a discussion with Forum members on the following topics:

  • Members were interested in learning of any successes that helped generate early support for the Delaware Education Data Forum. Adrian and Ken highlighted the Delaware Education Data Forum’s collaboration on reviewing accountability, assessment, and growth metric data. DDOE sends these data to LEAs for their review prior to public release by the SEA. Adrian worked with his SEA colleagues to ensure time for LEA data reviews and built this step into the SEA’s accountability project timeline. Ken noted that allowing LEA representatives to review these data prior to public release has increased LEA confidence in SEA data reports and helped the LEA representatives be better prepared to hold important conversations with their agency leaders.
  • Members were interested in learning more about LEA representation in the Delaware Education Data Forum. Ken noted that larger districts often have a supervisor of assessment and accountability on staff who represents the LEA, while smaller LEAs are often represented by a staff member who is responsible for managing the district’s data, typically the curriculum director. Meeting agendas are shared in advance so the LEA can ensure that the appropriate staff member can attend the meeting.

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Standing Committee Progress Reports

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National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) Meeting Summary

Monday, July 23, 2018

Morning Session

NESAC Committee Kickoff
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) welcomed members to the meeting. She highlighted the Forum’s accomplishments over the past year, including new publications, new working groups, and new School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) resources. She also highlighted collaborative webinars the Forum held with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), Regional Educational Laboratories (REL), the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program, and the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). NESAC Vice Chair Laura Boudreaux (Louisiana Department of Education) then led an introductory activity in which members shared information about their work. Marilyn briefly reviewed major activities and discussions from the 2017 NESAC Meeting and reviewed the 2018 Meeting Agenda.

Afternoon Session

Joint Session Follow-up: Cybersecurity
Data Breach Response Training
NESAC members participated in a Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) data breach response training exercise led by Michael Hawes (U.S. Department of Education) and members of the PTAC Support Team. This participant–driven discussion focused on decisions education agency teams might make in response to a hypothetical information technology emergency.

Michael and the PTAC Support Team provided the following handouts to NESAC members and encouraged them to visit https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/ for more information.

NESAC Group Discussion
NESAC members discussed the exercise and shared best practices. Topics of discussion included the following:

  • It is important not to overlook simple solutions that can help promote data security. Measures such as establishing a standard format for agency messages or including an agency contact on all emails can help staff to more easily identify phishing emails or other spam.
  • It can be helpful to have a formal protocol for communicating information about threats.
  • Whenever possible, it is helpful to automate security protocols such as password changes every three months.
  • Agencies need to be sure that security protocols are not so stringent that they are an undue burden on staff.
  • Smaller LEAs and rural LEAs may need SEA support to increase their capacity for cybersecurity.
  • Some LEAs have found that it is beneficial to work closely with other LEAs to address cybersecurity.

Breakout Session: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
NESAC members divided into two groups–one for SEAs and one for LEAs–to compare their work on topics related to ESSA, including SEA and LEA report cards. SEA members discussed suppression challenges, including the possibility that some data elements may be completely suppressed. They also noted that sometimes state report cards contain complex information and it can be useful to consider different ways of presenting information to different stakeholders, such as parents. Finally, they discussed collecting and reporting postsecondary data. Some states are interested in reporting more than just the number of students who attend college, but it can be difficult to gather data relating to postsecondary labor force engagement or military service. LEA members discussed how they are navigating reporting requirement changes from No Child Left Behind to ESSA, such as changes to how teacher and principal experience are reported. LEA members also discussed how to best present data to different stakeholders and noted that it can be difficult to effectively provide public reporting when there are multiple measures of accountability. Some LEAs have found that it is useful to create quality profiles that highlight the information parents are interested in. Sheri Ballman (Mason City Schools [OH]), shared the 2017 Mason City Schools Quality Profile as an example. It is available at masonohioschools.com/cms/one.aspx?portalID=391119&pageId=9496678

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Morning Session

Graduation Rates
SEA/LEA Breakout Session
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) welcomed members back to NESAC and asked members to once again divide into two groups–one for SEAs and one for LEAs–to discuss the topic of graduation rates. SEA members compared how different states define student cohorts; how they account for dropouts, early graduates, adult students, and alternative school graduates; and how they determine when to define a cohort for accountability (for example, one SEA determines that all students who enter tenth grade together are in the same cohort). SEA members also discussed the importance of calculating an extended rate for students who graduate in five, six, or seven years.

LEA members discussed different factors that may influence LEA graduation rates, such as whether or not an LEA requires high school “exit exams”; whether or not summer graduates are included in the rate; and which types of diplomas, such as alternative diplomas, are included in the rate. LEAs face challenges when determining whether students have transferred schools or dropped out–a factor that can significantly impact graduation rates. As a result, LEAs report spending considerable time tracking students who leave.

NESAC Group Discussion
Following the breakout session, members regrouped to report out on their discussion and share their thoughts. Topics of discussion included the following:

  • A focus on four–year graduation rates overlooks the determination and perseverance shown by students who graduate in five, six, or seven years. These accomplishments should be acknowledged.
  • The focus on four–year graduation rates can also overlook the needs of English language learners, many of whom have the expected grade-level content knowledge, but who may need an extra year to be able to express that knowledge in English.
  • Early completers, such as students who graduate in three years, may also complicate graduation rates. SEAs and LEAs expect to see increasing numbers of early graduates as personalized learning expands. Personalized learning often allows students to complete coursework on different timelines, and advanced students can complete high school coursework in less than four years.
  • SEAs differ in how they attribute students to particular schools for purposes of calculating graduation rates.

Afternoon Session

NESAC Discussions
Breakout Discussion Groups on Topics of Interest
NESAC Vice Chair Laura Boudreaux (Louisiana Department of Education) briefly introduced three topics that NESAC members had previously recommended for discussion at the meeting: testing opt-outs, gender/sex reporting, and organizational data governance. NESAC members chose which of the three topics they were most interested in and broke into small groups for discussion.

  • Testing opt-outs: Kara Arzamendia (Minnesota Department of Education) led the small group discussion on opt-outs, which refers to when parents do not allow their children to take part in assessments (or, depending on age, when the students themselves refuse). Members discussed work undertaken by SEAs and LEAs to promote test participation. One LEA reported that when there is an opting out, parents need to meet with the principal to discuss the importance of testing. However, few other SEAs or LEAs reported organized outreach efforts to reduce opt-outs. Occasionally an SEA will get involved with an LEA if an LEA has high rates of opt-outs. Some agencies have found that opt-outs decrease if the tests are tied to specific state standards, rather than widely used standardized assessments. Others have found that some families see standardized testing that is tied to college admissions, such as the ACT, as more beneficial than other assessments, and their students are more willing to participate in those.
  • Gender/sex reporting: Gunes Kaplan (Nevada Department of Education) led the small group discussion on gender/sex reporting. Some SEA members reported that they collect only one measure, sex, and that it is based on the student’s birth certificate. However, they noted that birth certificates can be modified and, in turn, the SEA will update the student’s data. An LEA reported that they collect data on both gender and sex, but report only one measure up to the state. The LEA saw the need for an additional data measure when they found that some students were changing LEAs in an effort to have a new start–that is, to be recognized as their preferred gender in the new school district. Members compared how they are appointing bathrooms for students, and noted that some schools and districts have added a third bathroom option by converting old staff bathrooms into bathrooms for anyone. Members also compared how their SEAs and LEAs handle challenge, including how to collect data when students identify as one gender but the parents identify them another way, and how to manage data that change over time.
  • Organizational data governance: Rachel Johnson (Loudoun County Public Schools [VA]) led the small group discussion on organizational data governance. States have differing definitions of data governance, but members noted that it is a disciplined approach for making data-related decisions, and it provides a framework for understanding data collections and use. Data governance can help an agency ensure that data are useful, it can provide common definitions, and it can help agencies share data-related expertise. When establishing data governance, it is important to identify all data systems, even those that are used by only a few staff members. This helps to establish a catalog about data (who, what, where, when) and the agency can then identify rules/controls to manage data systems. The group discussed challenges around data governance, including how to define roles when more than one office is responsible for the data, and how to manage when there is poor data governance at other levels of the organization. Solutions include making data governance part of daily processes so that everyone contributes, involving the right people in data governance decisions, and developing SEA governance structures that support LEAs. Professional development can help, and members noted that it is useful to share Forum resources and promote regional assistance among LEAs. Importantly, data governance is not exclusively an IT process.

Educator Effectiveness
Edward Goddard (Clark County School District [NV]), and Cheryl L. VanNoy (Saint Louis Public Schools [MO]), began a NESAC group discussion on educator effectiveness by sharing examples from their LEAs. Ed reported that Nevada’s Educator Performance Framework includes protocols for teacher and administrator evaluation that are based on a combination of educational practice and student performance http://www.doe.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/ndedoenvgov/content/Educator_
Effectiveness/EducatorDevelop_Support/NEPF/Tools_Protocols/20162017NEPF
ProtocolsAppendices.pdf
that are based on a combination of educational practice and student performance. Cheryl reported that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides districts with a model evaluation system (https://dese.mo.gov/educator-growth-toolbox/model-evaluation-system). Missouri districts may choose to use other models, provided that they encompass certain state requirements. Following Ed’s and Cheryl’s presentations, NESAC members compared their SEA and LEA approaches to educator evaluation, identified strategies for pairing highly effective teachers with low–performing students, and discussed benefits and drawbacks to the use of value–added models in educator evaluations. Members noted that there are measures of effectiveness that may not be reflected in growth scores, such as whether a teacher motivates students and makes them feel welcome in the classroom, thereby reducing the likelihood of student dropouts.

Federal Data Policy and Collections
Commenting on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Packages
Kelly Worthington and David Lee (U.S. Department of Education) shared a presentation on how to comment on the EDFacts 3–Year Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Clearance Package, FY 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22. The information clearance package is the official registration of federal data collections with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and appears on the Federal Register website at https://www.federalregister.gov/. Every three years, EDFacts must go through this formal clearance process. The current data collection expires with the 2018–19 school year. All comments received during the 60– and 30–day public review periods must be recognized and addressed (not necessarily adopted). Any changes to the EDFacts data collection package must be presented to OMB before final clearance can be obtained. This process is to be completed by the summer of 2019. The EDFacts OMB Package includes the following Attachments: Explanatory, Data Groups and Categories, Directory, EMAPS Collections, Directed Questions, and Response to Comments.

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education [CDE]) then shared a presentation about the CDE Federal Register Review Process, which includes six phases:

  1. Select Staff to Monitor the Federal Register
  2. Subscribe to the Federal Register
  3. Daily Monitoring Process
  4. Log and Track Proposed Data Collection
  5. Inform the Program Area
  6. Comment Process

CDE selected its EDFacts coordinator as the most qualified person to monitor proposed federal data collections because EDFacts and the Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) are the biggest data reports required. When the person monitoring identifies a proposed collection of interest, appropriate program staff are informed so that those with relevant subject matter expertise can evaluate the materials. Program staff are asked to examine the proposed data collection and consider these questions:

  • Are the proposed data appropriate to the stated purpose?
  • Does the department already have these data available in its existing data resource?
  • If the proposed collection would require collecting new data from LEAs or other local entities, are the LEAs being provided with enough lead time to modify whatever local information systems they have, such that they can submit the data with minimal effort?
  • Are the estimated hours of burden for SEAs and LEAs realistic? If not, what would be a realistic estimate?
  • Any other thoughts regarding the proposed collection?

Sonya encouraged members who are interested in monitoring the Federal Register to subscribe to the electronic mailing list by visiting the Federal Register Table of Contents Subscription Page.

Civil Rights Data Collection
Janis Brown (U.S. Department of Education) provided an update on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). NESAC members were interested in the 2017/18 timeline, including planned dates for key activities such as the data submission period, data processing and quality reviews, and data release. The 2017/18 CRDC will include new items regarding computer science classes and school internet bandwidth, while other items have been removed. The CRDC began engaging with SEAs to prepopulate some data as part of the 2013/14 collection, and this year more than 14 SEAs are expected to assist LEAs by prepopulating data. NESAC members were interested in learning more about how CRDC data should be reported in state report cards. Additional information about the CRDC is available at https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/data.html.

NESAC Committee Business Laura Boudreaux (Louisiana Department of Education) was nominated as the 2018–19 NESAC Chair and Cheryl L. VanNoy (Saint Louis Public Schools [MO]) was nominated as the 2018-19 NESAC Vice Chair.

NESAC Discussions
Federal Data Policy and Collections
NESAC members discussed strategies for commenting on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) packages. For example, members suggested submitting detailed comments that clearly explain any concerns and offer solutions, and working with Forum colleagues to share comments and encourage submissions. Forum members may find it useful to use Forum 360 to discuss OMB packages and share their comments with other Forum members, but should note that this does not replace official comments submitted via the Federal Register. Some NESAC SEA members expressed an interest in establishing a Federal Register review process similar to that used in California, and in encouraging LEA participation in the commenting process. Members were also interested in finding responses to previous comments, which are available in appendix F of the EDFacts package.

Topics from the Floor
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) explained that the meeting agenda was developed based on topics that NESAC members suggested. However, in the time since the agenda was developed, members identified new priorities and topics of interest. She opened the floor for member–suggested topics.

NESAC members discussed how to identify reliable and valid nonacademic data about students and integrate them into existing data systems. Such data are often termed social-emotional data, and they may be used in school quality indices. Members shared the following information:

  • Al Larson (Meriden Board of Education [CT]) noted that his LEA uses a peer-reviewed student climate survey that measures factors including safety, respect, friendships, parent support, student motivation, and sense of belonging.
  • Other SEAs and LEAs use different surveys to measure student and staff perceptions of school climate.
  • NCES provides the ED School Climate Surveys for use by education agencies (https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/edscls/index.asp).
  • The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) have developed tools and training materials that may also be of assistance to SEAs and LEAs in measuring social–emotional data and school climate.
  • It can be useful to communicate reports on nonacademic measures such as school climate to stakeholders such as parents, boards of education, and chambers of commerce.

Other topics from the floor that NESAC members suggested for discussion at future virtual or in-person meetings included the following:

  • Financial data collection and use, especially for school report cards
  • LEA use of enterprise data systems
  • Updates on the potential new socioeconomic status indicator (or indicators)
  • Efficiencies in coding EDFacts files, including the use of Generate (https://ciidta.grads360.org/#program/generate)
  • Accounting for out-of-state transfer students; determining valid verification for a transfer
  • Data on school security and safety, including numbers of resource officers, surveys on feelings of safety, and regulations regarding data sharing with law enforcement.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Morning Session

Forum Products and Practices
School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Working Group Updates Susan Williams (Virginia Department of Education) and Rachel Kruse (Iowa Department of Education) provided an update on the Forum’s School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED), which is a voluntary, common classification system for prior-to-secondary and secondary school courses. The Forum’s SCED Working Group is currently developing SCED Version 6, which will include updated Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and cybersecurity courses. Version 6 is scheduled to be released this fall. The working group is also planning for updates to SCED Finder and the SCED Master List, which includes all courses used in every version of SCED.

NESAC members engaged Susan and Rachel in a discussion on SCED use in their states, the use of attributes to identify online courses, and communication strategies for SCED implementation. Susan and Rachel encouraged all Forum members – including representatives from SEAs and LEAs that do not currently use SCED – to respond to requests for feedback from the SCED Working Group.

Early Warning Systems Data Working Group Updates
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) provided an update on the Forum’s Early Warning Systems Data Working Group. The working group, chaired by Marilyn, completed their work on the Forum Guide to Early Warning Systems, and the Forum recently voted to approve the resource for publication. This new resource is designed to help education agencies plan, develop, implement, and use an early warning system in their agency. The guide highlights seven case studies from SEAs and LEAs who have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, an early warning system. Marilyn encouraged members to contribute case studies from their SEAs and LEAs to future Forum resources.

Reviewing, Approving, and Using Forum Products Discussion
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) provided an overview of the Forum resource development process, including strategies for reviewing, commenting on, and contributing to Forum resources. Marilyn then reviewed some of the Forum’s recently published products and led a discussion on SEA and LEA uses of Forum products:

Marilyn then reviewed recent collaborative efforts between the Forum and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program, the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), and the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) program. Whitcomb Johnstone, Irving Independent School District (TX), shared a brief report on his participation in a regional meeting organized by the SLDS Grant Program to assist SEAs and LEAs with crisis data management. Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students, published in 2010, was discussed in detail at the meeting. Whitcomb noted that crises have changed since the guide was published, and it may be time for the Forum to update the guide to address the current needs of SEAs and LEAs.

Members suggested several topics of interest for future consideration, discussion, or Forum resources, including:

  • Effective communication and timely reporting between education agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.
  • Program monitoring and evaluation. NESAC members noted that while this topic is of great interest to the Forum, it is a very broad topic that would require extensive work to address.
  • Social-emotional learning indicators, data, instruments, and interventions. Members noted that the U.S. Department of Education, including the REL program, has published resources on this topic.

Members also expressed interest in resources on common data elements. Ghedam Bairu (NCES) noted that the Forum previously organized a webinar presentation on the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), and suggested that the Forum offer the webinar again for new members.

NESAC Committee Business
Steering Committee Business/Report
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) reported that the Steering Committee discussed topics of interest across the Forum’s three Standing Committees.

Meeting Review/Future Planning
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) and NESAC Vice Chair Laura Boudreaux (Louisiana Department of Education) led a review of the meeting and a discussion of plans for future NESAC meetings. Members noted that the meeting was very productive and suggested the following topics for future NESAC meetings and webinars:

  • Career Technical Education (CTE) and credentialing
  • Communication between local, state, and federal education agencies
  • Continuous school improvement
  • Program monitoring and evaluation
  • Statewide longitudinal data systems data codes
  • Updates on NCES’s work to improve measures of socioeconomic status

NESAC members also shared a brief update on a recent meeting of the CRDC Advisory Board. Members expressed interest in the CRDC’s definition of alternative schools and requested further information on business rules.

Marilyn encouraged NESAC members to share resources and continue discussions after the meeting on Forum360, a password-protected community site.

Closing Thoughts
NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) thanked NESAC members for the opportunity to serve as Chair and concluded the meeting with a review of the NESAC mission statement.

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Policies, Programs and Implementation (PPI) Committee Meeting Summary

Monday, July 23, 2018

Morning Session

PPI Committee Kickoff
Welcome and Introductions
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) and Vice Chair Charlotte Ellis (Maine Department of Education) introduced themselves and welcomed members to the meeting. PPI participants introduced themselves, noting their home agency and how long they’ve been attending Forum meetings.

Steve reported that the Forum has had a very productive year. This year the Forum developed several new resources that address timely topics in the education data community:

Summer 2017 Meeting Review and Agenda Review
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) briefly reviewed major activities and discussions from the 2017 PPI Meeting, including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), and privacy operations and procedures. At the 2017 meeting, PPI members also received updates on Forum projects and discussed the use of Forum resources in state and local education agencies. In addition to group discussions, PPI had presentations and discussions with invited federal speakers and heard from Forum colleagues on how to request a Regional Educational Laboratory project. PPI also participated in a data breach response training led by the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and suggested topics of interest for the summer 2018 Forum meeting. Steve then previewed PPI’s 2018 agenda.

NCES Opening Session Follow–Up
During the Forum Opening Session, NCES Commissioner Dr. James "Lynn" Woodruff shared an overview of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) priorities. PPI members found the presentation engaging and informative and made the following comments:

  • PPI members were pleased to hear that NCES is considering the issue of socioeconomic status (SES) indicators because the use of free- and reduced-price meals (FRPM) data is a concern, but members noted that it will be a complex topic with respect to effectiveness, timeliness, and privacy.
  • The Forum created a publication about alternative indicators of SES status: The Forum Guide to Alternative Measures of Socioeconomic Status in Education Data Systems.
  • If a new SES measure is planned, it would be useful to consider conducting a needs assessment and planning for how education agencies would transfer to the new measure.
  • Building a more complex measure may not improve the understanding of SES, but it will increase data collection burdens. There should be a clear path for how the new measure can improve quality and utility for meaningful policy and instructional purposes.
  • Should the Forum form a working group on how SES data are now being used? For example, the Forum could provide a status report of the landscape in which a change would be implemented.

State-Local Education Agency (SEA-LEA) Collaboration
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) facilitated a discussion of SEA-LEA collaboration focusing on the transferability of best practices across state lines. Members noted the following:

  • Best practices are not always transferable across states or districts because of differences in policies, laws, norms, or practices. For example, some states have comparable data systems across all LEAs, while in other states each LEA develops its own system.
  • Differences between states are evident in the earlier discussion of SES. Maine, for example, does not use FRPM data so changes related to SES would not apply to their data collections.
  • Agencies may also serve very different populations. Large populations of indigenous language speakers, military families, or mobile students might be commonalities or differentiators across agencies. What works well in one agency may not be applicable to others.
  • More diversity in developing best practices is critical in order for best practices to be more broadly useful. States and districts have commonalties but different politics, populations, and possibilities.
  • Some states are still trying to organize data collections to reflect reporting requirements, while others are on the cutting edge of technology.

PPI members briefly discussed whether the Forum could contribute to understanding the landscape across states that influences the transferability of best practices. However, there are too many nuances at state and local levels to fit into a single table or resource. Moreover, once information on the landscape is collected and reported, it will change. The current practice of sharing contact information among Forum members is a good approach because Forum representatives call each other for suggestions and advice based on what they learn in Forum discussions.

Afternoon Session

Cybersecurity Joint Session Follow–up
PPI members discussed the Joint Session presentation delivered by Steven Hernandez (U.S. Department of Education) on cybersecurity in SEAs and LEAs. PPI member comments on the topic included the following:

  • PPI members recalled the PTAC data breach training from 2017, which was an enlightening exercise.
  • Members noted that Steven underscored the point that paying a ransom can increase an individual or agency’s profile as a "mark" and make them a more attractive victim to future hackers.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-61 R2 (Computer Security Incident Handling Guide) is an excellent incident response resource.
  • NIST 800-34 R1 (Contingency Planning Guide for Federal Information Systems) provides helpful information concerning contingency planning.
  • The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is an important resource for information tailored to education agency use. Many states use PTAC resources. For example, the California Department of Education has recently done breach response trainings in four regions.
  • The General Services Administration’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.
  • The average school district would likely benefit from additional resources to ensure sound cybersecurity.
  • The Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) is working on technical requirements to meet contractual clauses (e.g., a NIST standard) to help LEAs access model contracts.
  • How does an SEA support LEAs that are understaffed? How can they help them make real changes rather than just telling them that they need to be secure? Some states require every employee to take ethics training; a similar approach could be employed for security training. Some SEAs and LEAs take cooperative approaches to security that benefit small schools without full-time technology staff.
  • Many states have emergency drills for crises, such as earthquake drills. A similar approach could be taken to provide state-funded technology security training to LEA staff.

SEA-LEA Collaboration on CRDC Reporting
S2018_GA_CRDC pdf file (15.3 KB)
Levette Williams (Georgia Department of Education [GADOE]) delivered a presentation explaining how Georgia’s SEA supports LEA submission to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). Georgia has 1,768,642 students in 2,299 schools across 213 school districts. Throughout the state, there are 10 different student information systems being used. GADOE had received many requests for CRDC assistance from its districts. GADOE created reports and published them within the GADOE portal for districts to report. For the 2015-16 CRDC collection, the SEA uploaded 78 percent of its LEAs' CRDC data. This effort by the SEA reduced reporting burdens for LEAs. It was made possible by the file formats provided by the CRDC, and now that the code is available, it is an automated process. Georgia’s LEAs appreciate the assistance.

GADOE has faced challenges stemming from the fact that data are collected from the home school where a student is enrolled. This means that data for students attending a program located at a different site other than the home school are reported to the SEA from the home school where they are enrolled. Thus, schools have to adjust numbers to remove counts from the school and report them in CRDC at the program level.

PPI members discussed the following topics with Levette:

  • There are several models for SEA-LEA collaboration on CRDC reporting in the Forum Guide to Reporting Civil Rights Data.
  • Unless a state has a substantial amount of data to pre-load for its LEAs, it may be easier for LEAs to just report their own data in their entirety (rather than needing to match SEA entries). However, if an SEA’s data have been thoroughly reviewed and validated as a component of LEA reporting, the data should already match.
  • How does the CRDC communicate with SEAs about data upload procedures? In some states, the data staff are not aware of this option of supporting LEAs. PPI members recommended that SEAs actively contact the CRDC Partner Support Center to ask for more information about how SEAs can help their LEAs.

PPI Small Discussion Groups on Topics of Interest
PPI reserved the remainder of the afternoon to discuss three important education data topics: data governance, implementing new data elements, and data quality and standards.

What has changed in data governance in your agency in the past five years?

  • One SEA reported that its IT director was chairing a legislatively mandated data governance commission across all of state government. But, over the course of several years, it had only met sporadically due to a lack of participant appointments.
  • Another SEA noted that it was the third anniversary of its data governance program. The agency used data privacy risks as a means to get senior support and funding. At first, the agency struggled to get employees interested, but now staff request that others (e.g., colleagues and new staff) get trained. Put simply, prior to the training staff did not realize the critical importance of data governance, and now they want others to have the training. The data governance program now has quarterly releases/updates and an annual event. It also shares Forum/PTAC news and presents to LEAs at regional meetings. The concept is starting to trickle down to the local level. Leaders are recognizing the importance of sending core team members to data governance conferences so that they stay current. LEAs are asking how they can get involved.
  • Understanding the context of a data governance program is key. In one state, the data governance program was focused on accountability, which was a high-profile issue. Top-down directives tend not to work in every agency. Many people seem to be more open to a hub and spoke model–small-group decisionmaking and sharing resources/products, rather than telling people what else they have to do during their work day.
  • A data governance program also has to be practical and solve real problems. It should also be hands-on. PPI members noted that data governance training is less effective when provided through webinars, online presentations, and other indirect means. It is more effective to have an individual who teaches, trains, and supports colleagues.

How does your agency introduce new data elements?

  • An agency should avoid introducing new data elements accidentally, that is, without prior warning. In one state a program learned about a new data element requirement 18 months earlier, but didn’t tell the data/technology team until 3 weeks before it needed to be reported, which led to problems.
  • One SEA representative meets with all program managers in the SEA to discuss new or changing data needs. The data team then reports back to the program managers on their understanding of data needs. Upon clarification and confirmation, the data team sets up a time frame for introducing the change. They conduct a conference call with student information system (SIS) vendors in the state to provide notice and share business rules, file formats, and other information. Finally, once everything is in place, they inform districts once vendors have already set up extracts, etc., and the LEAs just need to focus on implementation.
  • One state tried to link every element collected to a report mandate in order to justify collection. This is a difficult but worthwhile process. If a data element cannot be mapped to its use, then it should no longer be collected.
  • Are any states adding a non-gender response (e.g., “neutral”) for sex? This is a growing concern, and some states, such as California and Oregon, have begun trying to add new response options. PPI members suggested looking to EDFacts for direction about reporting. However, some states are incorporating changes to reporting in state law, so changes are happening whether or not this becomes a federal reporting issue. If data collections allow for “male,” “female,” and “other,” and some students choose “other,” then data checks that add “male” and “female” responses will no longer add up to the total number of students. This is already happening in several states, and additional states are discussing potential data collection changes.

Is data quality in your agency improving?

  • Data quality improves when data are used and reported.
  • Business rules and edit checks are helpful, but it is the audit that confirms that the data are accurate. When an LEA knows that it might get audited, data quality improves.
  • States have different processes for correcting data errors. In some states, if an LEA sees an error, it can be reported and changed during a specific review window, but once it has been reported (or the review window passes), it rarely gets changed. In other states, if there are financial implications, the change will be made even after the fact.
  • Some SEAs have found that changing reported data can be perceived as untrustworthy. Rather than correcting errors and changing data, these SEAs have found that it is useful to add a note to a public report indicating that the data are incorrect without otherwise changing the report. PPI members agreed that changing data after the review window erodes confidence and should be avoided if possible.
  • Some states require that all related data be corrected when an aggregate is changed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Morning Session

Data Privacy Issues Part I: General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and FERPA and Non-education Focused Data Requests
Michael Hawes and Tracy Koumare (U.S. Department of Education) joined PPI on behalf of the Department’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). Michael offered opening remarks and Tracy delivered a presentation on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The GDPR regulates the processing by an individual, company, or organization of personal data relating to individuals in the European Union. It represents several foundational principles. Data must be processed with

  • lawfulness, fairness, and transparency;
  • purpose limitation;
  • data minimization;
  • accuracy;
  • storage limitation;
  • integrity and confidentiality.

GDPR also makes a distinction between an individual or organization that controls data and one that processes data. A controller is defined as the natural or legal person, public authority, agency, or any other body which alone or jointly with others determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data. Where the purposes and means of processing are determined by European or Member State laws, the controller (or the criteria for nominating the controller) may be designated by those laws. A processor refers to a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or any other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.

The age of consent to share one’s data is 16 in the European Union GDPR. “Consent” to the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which the individual, by a statement or clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of their personal data. Written consent must be presented in a manner which is clearly distinguishable from other matters, in an intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. Moreover, consent must be easily withdrawable at any time.

The GDPR also encourages organizations to implement technical and organizational measures at the earliest stages of the design of the processing operations in such a way that safeguards privacy and data protection principles from the start. By default, organizations should ensure that personal data are processed with the highest privacy protection (e.g., only necessary data should be processed, there should be a short storage period, and there should be limited accessibility) and that these data are not made accessible to an indefinite number of persons (data protection by default).

The GDPR impacts institutions that have an establishment in the European Union, offer goods or services (even at no charge) in the European Union, or monitor the behavior of European Union residents. Thus, a U.S. entity involved in a data transaction with a European Union resident in the U.S., for example, would not be subject to the GDPR; the same entity engaging in significant and intentional cyber transactions with European Union residents in the European Union would be.

GDPR affords European Union residents the following rights:

  • The right to access, correct, delete, and block data
  • The right to opt out of marketing
  • A requirement of direct consent for most data–processing activities, or indirect consent via contractual disclosure (and parental consent for individuals younger than 16)
  • The “right to be forgotten”: the deletion of personal data that are no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which the data were collected
  • The “right to data portability,” which requires institutions to provide all records of citizens upon request in a commonly used format
  • The “right to restrict processing”
  • Notification

GDPR mandates notification of supervisory authorities of any breaches within 72 hours of discovery with information on response actions. Moreover, it requires breach notification to data subjects themselves "without undue delay" when a breach is likely to result in a high risk to the subjects' rights and freedoms. There will likely be limits to the GDPR’s " right to be forgotten," but SEAs may want to flag students who are citizens of the European Union for easy access as implementation unfolds.

PTAC is unlikely to issue information on this because it isn't a U.S. law. Other relevant resources might originate from Educause, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The conversation in PPI then turned to the topic of non-education-focused data requests. PPI members discussed the following topics with Michael:

  • SEAs receive many data requests from researchers, including non–education studies (social, community, etc.) in which education issues are tangential. Michael discussed when agencies need to obtain written permission and when the studies/audit exception may apply (to improve instruction, improve tests, administer financial aid, and evaluate programs). If the study is not related to education in these ways, then no exception applies, and data cannot be shared without written permission.
  • SEAs may benefit from creating de-identified research data files that can be shared with any researcher or synthetic data files that permit basic research. If researchers have concerns about synthetic data, they can submit findings to the SEA, which can confirm or reject inferences, patterns, findings, etc.
  • PPI members asked whether an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Grantee is, by definition, performing services on behalf of the Secretary. The U.S. Department of Education has not yet provided a clear answer.
  • Both the studies and the audit and evaluation exception require that the research be for or on behalf of the school or agency. Thus, if the researcher is doing work for the agency–that is, work that the agency would do if it could–then the research may be permissible. If not, and the research would not improve an agency program, then the exception cannot be used to justify sharing data.
  • The benefit to the agency doesn't need to be direct. For example, if research benefits education more broadly, it may meet the requirements–for example when an SEA conducts or supports research on behalf of LEAs to improve education generally across a state.

Forum Products and Practices
S2018_Forum_Products_and_Practices pdf file (280 KB)
Following a general session about Forum products, PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) and Charlotte Ellis (Maine Department of Education) reviewed the process by which Forum products and publications are developed:

  • Forum members discuss issues related to education data at the SEA, LEA, and federal levels and propose working groups to develop practical and useful resources on topics of interest.
  • Working groups are addressing the following topics: education technology, personalized learning data, and School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED). Working groups recently completed work on the following topics: school facilities and early warning systems.
  • After the working group completes the content, publications are reviewed by members of the Forum Standing Committee that sponsored the project.
  • Finally, Forum members review and formally vote to approve all documents prior to publication. NCES provides final review and approval prior to online publication.

To date, there are over 40 best practice publications featured on the Forum website’s publications page. PPI members reported that Forum publications were very helpful in their long-term planning and day-to-day operational responsibilities, including training new and existing staff members.

Afternoon Session

Commenting on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Packages
S2018 OMB Package–508 compliant.pdf.pdf file (115 KB)
Kelly Worthington and David Lee (U.S. Department of Education) shared a presentation on how to comment on the EDFacts 3–Year Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Clearance Package, FY 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22. The information clearance package is the official registration of federal data collections with the OMB and appears on the Federal Register website at https://www.federalregister.gov/. Every three years, EDFacts must go through this formal clearance process. The current data collection expires with the 2018–19 school year. All comments received during the 60– and 30–day public review periods must be recognized and addressed (but not necessarily adopted). Any changes to the EDFacts data collection package must be presented to OMB before final clearance can be obtained. This process is to be completed by the summer of 2019. The EDFacts OMB Package includes the following Attachments: Explanatory, Data Groups and Categories, Directory, EMAPS Collections, Directed Questions, and Response to Comments.

Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education [CDE]) then shared a presentation about the CDE Federal Register Review Process, which includes six phases:

  • 1. Select Staff to Monitor the Federal Register
  • 2. Subscribe to the Federal Register
  • 3. Daily Monitoring Process
  • 4. Log and Track Proposed Data Collection
  • 5. Inform the Program Area
  • 6. Comment Process

CDE selected its EDFacts coordinator as the most qualified person to monitor proposed federal data collections because EDFacts and the Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) are the biggest data reports required. When the person monitoring identifies a proposed collection of interest, appropriate program staff are informed so that those with relevant subject matter expertise can evaluate the materials. Program staff are asked to examine the proposed data collection and consider these questions:

  • Are the proposed data appropriate to the stated purpose?
  • Does the department already have these data available in its existing data resource?
  • If the proposed collection would require collecting new data from LEAs or other local entities, are the LEAs being provided with enough lead time to modify whatever local information systems they have, such that they can submit the data with minimal effort?
  • Are the estimated hours of burden for our department (an SEA) and local agencies realistic? If not, what would be a realistic estimate?
  • Any other thoughts regarding the proposed collection?

Sonya encouraged members who are interested in monitoring the Federal Register to subscribe to the electronic mailing list by visiting the Federal Register Table of Contents Subscription Page.

Data Privacy Issues, Part II: Small Cell Size
S2018_Seastrom pdf file (21.1 KB)
Marilyn Seastrom (U.S. Department of Education) shared a presentation on the IES publication Best Practices for Determining Subgroup Size in Accountability Systems While Protecting Personally Identifiable Student Information. In the 2015 ESSA legislation, Congress charged IES with producing and widely disseminating a report on "best practices for determining valid, reliable, and statistically significant minimum numbers of students for each of the subgroups of students." IES responded to this mandate with the release of the publication. Marilyn’s presentation reflected some of the major points of this publication, including the following:

  • A finding is statistically valid if it accurately measures what it is intended to measure; the result can be generalized to other places, people, and times; and the statistical conclusions drawn from the result are reasonable (i.e., credible or believable). It is statistically reliable if it is consistent, stable, and reproducible from one use to the next; it is of high quality; and it is relatively error free.
  • Minimum n-size refers to the lowest statistically defensible subgroup size that can be reported with protections for personally identifiable information in a state accountability system. Thus, the minimum n-size a state establishes and the privacy protections it implements will directly determine how much data will be publicly reported in the system.
  • Marilyn reported that, when determining minimum n-size, an agency should first determine whether it will approach the issue from a population or sampling perspective. She then described sample scenarios from the document for determining a state’s minimum n-size.
  • Marilyn proceeded with reviewing the importance of protecting personally identifiable information (data) in public reporting. She provided examples of complementary suppression, top and bottom coding, and reporting in ranges–all of which are discussed in greater detail in the publication.

PPI Election
Charlotte Ellis (Maine Department of Education) was nominated as the 2018-19 PPI Chair, and Brad McMillen (Wake County Public Schools [NC]) was nominated as the 2018-19 PPI Vice Chair.

PPI Small Group Discussions: Data Privacy Issues
PPI members engaged in discussions on topics related to data privacy: data security and information technology policies, the ethical application of data in predictive school safety analytics, and data privacy and educational technology.

Data Security – IT Policies
PPI discussion focused on the following topics:

  • Continuing education, training, and professional development are keys to sound development and reliable implementation of IT policies.
  • One SEA is revisiting all of its IT security policies and is making the policies available to all LEAs as a model/example of the types of information that should be included in a robust policy.
  • Some LEAs are enhancing cybersecurity training. This has costs but schools are now being affected by ransomware.
  • Regional Homeland Security Offices have resources for local agencies, including training grants.

Ethical Application of Data in Predictive School Safety Analytics
PPI members noted that this is a complicated topic that can literally have life–or–death consequences. For example, what happens in an agency if a student is showing indications of self-harm? What is the appropriate amount of information to share with law enforcement concerning “predictive” or “predictable” behaviors? Unless a student grants permission to contact the school, can a suicide hotline report a conversation with a student to the school record?

The Future of Privacy Forum has developed some resources that might help education agencies consider their responsibilities on this critical front, including Unfairness by Algorithm: Distilling the Harms of Automated Decision-Making.

Data Privacy and Educational Technology
PPI discussion focused on the following topics:

  • Many LEAs look to SEAs for direction regarding educational technology, given the reality of IT risks. An SEA may provide direction regarding educational technology, but the technology has to be implemented at the LEA level.
  • States are joining public organizations like the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC) to help advance this issue. For example, access to model contracts is likely to create efficiencies and reduce time, effort, and expenses.

SEA-LEA Collaboration
PPI members returned to the theme of SEA-LEA collaboration around best practices with a discussion of the following topics:

  • It is difficult for an SEA to develop a single best practice process for LEAs when some LEA have 160,000 students and others have 350 students. For example, consider the difference in burden when an SEA asks its LEAs to make manual corrections on a data report–it isn't realistic in a huge district but may be very feasible and cost-efficient for a small district.
  • Some SEAs rank their LEAs in different tiers. For example, Tier 1 districts (which are small) may have their data validated quickly, so they don't have to wait for the weeks that it takes to validate a large district’s submission of thousands of records.
  • Some SEAs host data conferences and/or training for their LEAs. Note that it is important to determine the appropriate amount of time for conferences and/or training; SEA staff traveling to LEAs to deliver presentations may not be a useful long–term solution. Hosting a data conference may be better received, but it has to be tailored to the audience at the right level. Data clerks can ’t learn about new requirements unless their supervisors do as well.
  • The more that IT, data, and program staff can collaborate, the better for all parties and their stakeholders. One state is blending its data conference with its program conference; a conference just about data no longer makes sense when so much of data collection is driven by program needs.
  • One state found that developing three– to five–minute how–to videos decreases call center help requests. Another state offered technical assistance webinars and then saw decreases in errors in LEAs whose personnel attended the webinars.
  • States such as California that have developed effective practices may be able to share how they communicate with their LEAs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Morning Session

Topics from the Floor
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) opened the floor for PPI members to discuss topics of interest that were not addressed during planned conversations. Members discussed the following topics:

  • Developing new privacy resources: PPI members thought that there would be interest in a new resource or resources for introducing sound data privacy and security practices for LEA and SEA data staff. Perhaps the Forum could forward this recommendation to PTAC or otherwise coordinate with PTAC to develop such a resource.
    • Such a resource would complement existing PTAC resources and could help people better understand their risks and responsibilities. Addressing the basics would correct ignorance and, thus, potentially, address a large percentage of common mistakes. Similarly, at some point it might be beneficial to develop training materials about how to appropriately report summary level data. PPI members noted that too many staff put out tables that can be used to identify individual students. A short, simple training to help staff recognize the problem would be very useful–but it would need to be simple with a clear focus, such as on basic masking. The NCES technical report on cell suppression, Statistical Methods for Protecting Personally Identifiable Information in Aggregate Reporting, could serve as the foundational content of such a resource, although it would need to be modified for nonexpert use.
    • Teachers may be an appropriate audience for these types of introductory resources. Also, there could be a requirement to learn about this for anyone who is involved with agency data, much like institutional review board (IRB) training requirements that researchers must take every year. Regardless of the eventual target audience, any privacy/security resources should be designed to fit into relatively short staff onboarding/training windows (e.g., no longer than one hour). Finally, whenever new privacy resources are released, it should be clear that such a resource delivers introductory information to the user; just because a data clerk takes an online privacy class for an hour doesn't mean that he or she is now an expert in data privacy.
    • PPI members noted that PTAC does excellent work on this front, and it is important that whatever the Forum does, if anything, it not duplicate PTAC efforts. Thus, the Forum should either forward this recommendation to PTAC or closely coordinate with PTAC to develop such resources.
  • ESSA requirements for per-pupil expenditures: Determining these expenditures at the school level may prove to be a challenge. Most districts report these expenditures at the district level and, thus, reporting at the school level may lead to concerns about explaining variation between schools. For example, higher poverty schools spend much more per student than even some affluent schools. While these data may be useful for assessing equity, local school boards may then be pressured to reallocate funds from high-need schools. It will be very important to educate stakeholders who read the reports about cost drivers. Examples of cost drivers include the fact that economy of scale is lost in small schools, there are specific federal fund flows for certain schools, and some schools may offer extra academic coaching. If cost data are reported without this type of explanation, the data may be interpreted in a negative way.

School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED): Reducing LEA Course Coding Burden
Rachel Kruse (Iowa Department of Education) joined PPI to share updates on the Forum’s School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED), which is a voluntary, common classification system for prior–to–secondary and secondary school courses. The Forum’s SCED Working Group is currently developing SCED Version 6, which will include updated Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and cybersecurity courses. Version 6 is scheduled to be released this fall. The working group is also planning for updates to SCED Finder and the SCED Master List, which includes all courses used in every version of SCED.

New users are reporting that the SCED Finder tool is helpful. To use it, one types in key words to find associated SCED codes (e.g., in a subject area). The search tool has been improved so that plurality is no longer a problem (e.g., "science" versus "sciences"). Archived courses will soon be included as well. Rachel noted that Iowa is always one year behind the most current SCED version because of local timing issues–so the archived courses are very helpful.

Rachel provided PPI with background information on SCED and how the codes can help reduce course coding burdens for SEAs and LEAs. Prior to implementing SCED, Iowa did not have unified course codes. Since implementing SCED, all Iowa LEAs use SCED codes (not local codes), and only SCED code data can be submitted to the SEA. SCED use made CRDC reporting easier, and it made it easier to pull course data for other needs as well. Iowa has modified SCED to meet the particular needs of the SEA and LEAs. For example, Iowa has added attributes, which are optional elements, to the SCED code to communicate additional information such course delivery method–online, face–to–face at a college, concurrent at a community college, etc.

Because of the importance of SCED in Iowa, the SEA offered 13 regional training sessions to assist with a recent SCED update. The training sessions were scheduled so that no LEA staff had to travel more then 1.5–2 hours. The training lasted about 2 hours and focused on hands-on course coding. Participants pre–registered, which enabled the SEA to prepare each LEA’s actual course files, crosswalks, and other documentation so that all participants worked with their actual course data. About 85 percent of Iowa districts attended. Rachel noted that if an SEA is not yet using SCED, the regional workshop model might be a good way to train LEAs.

PPI Committee Business
PPI Meeting Review/Future Planning
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) led a review of the meeting and discussion of plans for future PPI meetings. Members noted the following:

  • PPI focused on SEA–LEA collaboration at this meeting, which members found to be a successful approach.
  • The hollow square room setup was conducive to participation and management–much better than individual tables in previous years.
  • Steve reminded PPI members to look for emails announcing webinars and virtual meetings through the year until the Summer 2019 Forum.

Closing Thoughts
PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) thanked members for a productive and enjoyable meeting, and stated that he is looking forward to supporting the leadership of PPI Chair Charlotte Ellis (Maine Department of Education) and Vice Chair Brad McMillen (Wake County Public Schools [NC]) in 2018–19.

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Technology Committee (TECH) Meeting Summary

Monday, July 23, 2018

Morning Session

TECH Committee Kickoff
TECH Chair Georgia Hughes-Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) welcomed members to the meeting and led the group in introductions. Members shared topics of current interest, including the following:

  • Updating data documentation and standardization
  • Getting buy-in for state and local education agency (SEA and LEA) collaboration
  • Technological readiness for the cloud
  • How technology can support school safety
  • Training and how to disseminate it (videos, online tutorials, etc.)
  • 508 compliance - training materials, videos, online tools, etc.
  • Using data for information
  • Expanding assessment suite to support many different purposes
  • IT consolidation/legacy systems
  • Getting staff on board for new systems
  • Data quality

The committee also briefly discussed the opening session and talked about alternative socioeconomic status (SES) measures. They noted that the Forum should be involved in the development of a new measure by NCES since Forum members have unique perspectives and some have practical experience with geographic information systems in their states.

Afternoon Session

Privacy and Security
Cybersecurity Follow–up TECH Group Discussion
TECH Chair Georgia Hughes-Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) led a follow-up discussion about cybersecurity after the session from Steven Hernandez (U.S. Department of Education). The group discussed several specific issues such as legacy systems, email, insurance, and how to pay for cybersecurity. The group then made an effort to categorize the issues and decided that most of the issues arose with policies and practices.

Student Data Privacy Consortium pdf file (280 KB)
Larry Fruth II (Access 4 Learning [A4L]) provided an overview of the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC). SDPC is a collaborative of schools; districts; regional, state, and territorial education agencies; other professional organizations; and marketplace providers addressing real-world, adaptable, and implementable solutions to growing data privacy concerns. The Consortium leverages work done by numerous partner organizations but focuses on issues being faced by "on-the–ground" practitioners. Larry reviewed their three projects: Privacy Contract Framework ,(https://privacy.a4l.org/privacy-contract-framework/), Digital Tools Governance (https://privacy.a4l.org/digital-tools-governance/), and Privacy Connect (https://privacy.a4l.org/privacy-connect/).

Data Breach Response Training
TECH members participated in a Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) data breach response training exercise led by Michael Hawes (U.S. Department of Education) and members of the PTAC Support Team. This participant-driven discussion focused on decisions education agency teams might make in response to a hypothetical information technology emergency. Topics of discussion from the exercise included the following:

  • Mitigate a potential data breach first; address clean-up/remediation second.
  • Training (proactive and reactive) is essential.
  • Consider your cybersecurity insurance policies.
  • Data breaches are more than just a technology issue; they also affect communications, policy, and leadership.

Michael and the PTAC Support Team provided the following handouts to TECH members and encouraged them to visit https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/ for more information.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Morning Session

Forum Resources
Data Visualization Follow-up TECH Group Discussion
TECH Chair Georgia Hughes-Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) led a follow-up discussion on topics covered during the Data Visualization joint session presentation. Forum members were excited about the online course being developed based on the Forum publication. Members discussed the following data visualization topics:

  • Visualization will never be "settled" but continually growing.
  • It is easier to show good examples of data visualization to staff, harder to tell someone what they did was wrong.
  • Tools are more robust now than they were just a few years ago.
  • Questions to answer now: What is the theory of action tied to the visualization? What do we want the audience to do after they know this information?
  • Section 508 compliance can be difficult when using visualization tools; designers may have to build extra tables or one–offs because the tools don't support compliance (but then those lose visualization aspects).
  • Agencies are dealing with staffing issues–that is, how to keep a person in the agency to support these tools (analysts, statisticians, etc.).
  • It is best practice to have a group of people that review the visualizations before they are made public.

Forum Products and Practices TECH Group Discussion pdf file (276 MB)
TECH Chair Georgia Hughes–Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) provided an overview of Forum publications; recent publication uses by Forum members; and collaboration between the Forum and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), Regional Educational Laboratories (REL), the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program, and the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). TECH members discussed the following topics related to Forum products and processes:

  • SEAs reported using the data ethics training for new staff members, noting that it takes about one hour.
  • LEAs found the Forum Guide to Reporting Civil Rights Data very helpful.
  • The Forum may want to consider ways to improve the efficiency of the publication process. For example, publications could be posted to Forum360 with directed questions (rather than the current process, which has all Forum members reviewing the entire document at the same time), or Forum leaders could assign some members certain publications to review.
  • The Forum should review all publications on a regular basis and have a revisions and deprecation process for publications. Addendums can make the process more efficient because they can be released faster than full revisions. Then, plan complete revisions.
  • The Forum should also consider focusing on smaller/shorter resources, approximately 10 pages, and supplemental resources.
  • Possible topics for Forum resources:
    • Cybersecurity and the broader security context
    • Privacy: updates in guidance and other resources from the U.S. Department of Education, information on ESSA, best practices for data sharing with other agencies, audit evaluation, etc.

Working Group Updates
Education Technology Working Group
Jay Pennington (Iowa Department of Education) provided an update on the Forum’s Education Technology Working Group. The Working Group reviewed the Forum’s Education Technology Suite, which is a compilation of four different resources, and determined that a new resource would benefit education agencies. The new resource will address the widespread use and integration of technology in SEAs and LEAs, including administration (such as human resources and finances), reporting, infrastructure, and student information systems, all of which serve the overall goal of supporting teaching and learning. A draft has been developed and the group is currently reviewing it. It is a lengthy document and the group is deciding what content should be included and how best to organize the information in an easily-accessible manner. TECH members noted that this resource will need to be updated more frequently because it is about technology.

School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) Version 6
Rachel Kruse (Iowa Department of Education) provided an update on the Forum’s School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED), which is a voluntary, common classification system for prior–to–secondary and secondary school courses. The Forum’s SCED Working Group is currently developing SCED Version 6, which will include updated Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and cybersecurity courses. Version 6 is scheduled to be released this fall. The working group is also planning for updates to SCED Finder and the SCED Master List, which includes all courses used in every version of SCED. Rachel noted that SCED Finder will be updated to include archived codes, and the group has begun planning for the version 7 update, which will include a focus on cybersecurity course codes.

Personalized Learning Data Working Group
Dean Folkers (Nebraska Department of Education) provided an update on the Forum’s Personalized Learning Data Working Group. The group is developing a new resource to assist education agencies as they collect data for personalized learning; use those data to meet personalized learning goals; and support the relationships, resources, and systems needed for effective personalized learning. Working Group members met earlier in the week and provided feedback on the draft. Personalized learning is an evolving area, and states and districts are taking different approaches, which are outlined and discussed in the document. The resource will highlight case studies from states and districts. The Working Group plans on completing work on the new resource this fall.

Afternoon Session

TECH in the Real World– Working with Technology Vendors
TECH Vice Chair Ken Hutchins (Brandywine School District [DE]) led a discussion about TECH members’ experiences working with vendors and their agencies’ policies and procedures for working with vendors. TECH members identified lessons learned and best practices:

  • Create an LEA-centric resource: specify a vision, goals, and outcomes for the system that can then be used to inform decisions on which vendor to use.
  • Get key players involved.
  • Engage with different vendor staff beyond the sales representative.
  • Meet in person with the vendor at the first meeting. Set up additional meetings after each stage of the planning/implementation process.
  • Weigh all options before deciding on a vendor; don’t just rely on recommendations from other SEAs and LEAs.
  • Plan for everything possible, but be prepared to react to things that weren’t planned.
  • Note that customer support and responsiveness from vendors is key.
  • Embed requirements for vendor accountability in contracts, including ramifications for not meeting requirements. Consider using performance bonds and incentive payments.
  • It can help to be flexible with requests for proposals (RFPs) because vendors may have a better solution than those considered by the agency.
  • Know your end goal and put it in the contract and statement of work.
  • Use an independent consultant to track work.

Local Education Agency (LEA) Uses of Technology
TECH Vice Chair Ken Hutchins (Brandywine School District [DE]) led a discussion with TECH members about different LEA uses of technology and the challenges that can occur. TECH members made the following points:

  • Everyone plans on new technology but they don’t plan for the end game. It is important to identify the vision for the use of the device.
  • Students’ transition to new technology-based assessments has been tricky; assessments on some devices are easier than others.
  • How can classroom teachers make the most of the technology they have?
  • Ongoing and consistent professional development is key to successful LEA technology use.
  • Purchasing/obtaining devices for use is often the easiest part of a one-to-one technology program. Implementing one-to-one programs and supporting classroom use of technology can be challenging.
  • Technology use should align with and support the LEA’s vision, goals, and intended outcomes for student use of technology.

Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom TECH Discussion pdf file (993 KB) Chris Chapman and Tom Snyder (U.S. Department of Education) talked with TECH members about several Institute of Education Sciences (IES) publications and upcoming surveys on digital resources. Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom, released this spring, details the access that students have to digital learning resources. Chris and Tom also discussed an upcoming Fast Response Survey and noted TECH member questions and feedback. TECH members had the following questions:

  • What is the timeline for the next Fast Response Survey?
  • Does access to digital devices at home and in the classroom impact National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores? Are there any plans or resources available on this topic?
  • Will NCES share information with the Federal Communications Commission (E–Rate) to help with their goals?

TECH Committee Business
Ken Hutchins (Brandywine School District [DE]) was nominated as the 2018-19 TECH Chair, and DeDe Conner (Kentucky Department of Education) was nominated as the 2018-19 TECH Vice Chair.

Federal Reporting
EDFacts Update and Data Quality Report pdf file (212 KB) Barbara Timm and Jennifer Davies (U.S. Department of Education) and members of the EDFacts Support Team provided an overview of some of their data quality procedures and technology decisionmaking. TECH members were interested in discussing the following questions and topics:

  • Where is EDFacts headed in the future regarding technology?
  • Will Generate automate this process?
  • Will NCES support Generate going forward? There needs to be a commitment from both states and ED to make it work.
  • How can agencies strike a balance when moving to systems that are more efficient and offer increased functionality?

Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Update
Janis Brown (U.S. Department of Education) provided an update on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). She noted that the current focus is on the 2017/18 collection. The 2017/18 CRDC will include new items regarding computer science classes and school internet bandwidth, while other items have been removed. The CRDC began engaging with SEAs to prepopulate some data as part of the 2013/14 collection, and this year more than 14 SEAs are expected to assist LEAs by prepopulating data. TECH members were interested in the upcoming guidance on how CRDC data should be reported in state report cards. SEAs noted that they need time to incorporate data and work on how these data will be included in report cards. SEAs were concerned about potential differences between CRDC data reported on SEA and LEA report cards and about posting older federal data files on their websites when more current SEA data are available.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Morning Session

Forum Meeting Participation
Each year the Forum promotes collaboration with national associations engaging in national data standards activities by having Forum members attend major meetings of national data standards groups and, at times, present information on the Forum and its resources. Forum members who attend these meetings engage with stakeholders and report back to the Forum.

Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Meeting
Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]) attended the 2018 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) meeting that was held in Washington, DC, on March 11–14. She attended sessions focused on social and emotional skills; “no collar workers”, that is, highly–qualified workers who are hired for short–term projects; and the need for datasets to support burgeoning technologies.

Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Meeting
Levette Williams (Georgia Department of Education) attended the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) Spring 2018 Data Summit that was held in Washington, DC, on May 2–4. During the Summit, she provided PESC with an overview of the Forum and some of its resources. During the meeting, PESC members discussed several topics of interest to the Forum such as privacy and new and better ways to highlight skills and competencies.

Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC)
Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]) attended the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) that was held in Orlando, FL, on January 23–16. FETC is a very large conference with over 600 sessions, 4000 vendors, and 11,000 attendees. There are five tracks based on roles (administrator, teacher, etc.). Many of the sessions focused on technology and products in the classroom.

Topics from the Floor
TECH Chair Georgia Hughes–Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) summarized topics she heard during the first session, as well as throughout the meeting, and invited TECH members to discuss these and other topics from the floor. TECH members discussed the following topics in small groups:

  • Planning and managing change in systems and tools
    • Modernizing current systems/tools
    • Expanding or revising systems for additional capacity and/or purposes
    • Consolidating and/or retiring legacy systems
    • Persuading, assisting, and supporting users through periods of change
  • Cultivating stable, significant organizational support
    • Building support for meaningful multilevel collaboration (school/LEA/SEA)
    • Cultivating buy–in at all levels for new initiatives or changes
    • Prioritizing and sustaining work in the context of fiscal uncertainty/loss
  • Building and sustaining a culture of data quality
    • Updating documentation and data standards
    • Understanding how to operationalize accountability rules in data collection and reporting
    • Designing and disseminating effective training in the use of data tools
  • Promoting meaningful data use
    • Helping key stakeholders translate data into actionable information
    • Improving the use and understanding of appropriate data visualizations
  • Demonstrating the critical links between technology, data, and school safety
  • Maintaining compliance
    • Meeting accessibility needs for stakeholders with varying visual needs
    • Satisfying federal submission/collection requirements

TECH members also spent time discussing the connection between cybersecurity and security and potential ways the Forum can support education agencies in their efforts to ensure cybersecurity and security, such as a Forum Working Group or TECH white paper on the topic.

Meeting Review/Future Planning
TECH members reviewed the meeting and discussed ideas for future TECH meetings. Topics suggested by TECH members included the following:

  • The Forum should consider reserving Standing Committee time for committee discussions only. Outside presenters would be invited to joint sessions.
  • TECH members could create new products, or outline and begin new products, during the TECH meeting.
  • The process could begin with communications via email to contribute ideas, followed by a webinar, and then the in-person meeting could provide an opportunity to finalize plans or start a new project.
  • TECH can use the list from the Topics from the Floor discussion as a place to start during the next meeting.
  • TECH members can end the meeting talking about how practices might change and develop more actionable items. Consider actionable meeting notes. Note that it is difficult to be out of the office and actionable items could help members to justify their absence.
  • Are there tangible ideas for new products that TECH members can begin to develop from the meeting as that aren't big enough for a new Forum guide?
  • The Standing Committee could create shorter guides or white papers that can be released quickly, for example, a short paper on security best practices that highlights the importance of linking cybersecurity with larger security considerations.

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Recognition of Forum Officers and Completed Projects

The Forum presented certificates to recognize the contributions of the Forum officers and the members of the working groups that developed the Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data, the Forum Guide to Facility Information Management: A Resource for State and Local Education Agencies, and the forthcoming Forum Guide to Early Warning Systems. Dr. James Lynn Woodworth, commissioner of NCES, and Marilyn Seastrom, chief statistician of NCES, commended the Forum on its work.

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Forum Election

Forum Chair Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) presented the slate of proposed 2018–19 officers for a vote. The slate was seconded, and then the Forum voted to approve the following members as 2018–19 officers:

Chair: Allen Miedema, Northshore School District (WA)
Vice Chair: Dean Folkers, Nebraska Department of Education
NESAC Chair: Laura Boudreaux, Louisiana Department of Education
NESAC Vice Chair: Cheryl L. VanNoy, Saint Louis Public Schools (MO)
PPI Chair: Charlotte Ellis, Maine State Department of Education
PPI Vice Chair: Bradley McMillen, Wake County Public School System (NC)
TECH Chair: Ken Hutchins, Brandywine School District (DE)
TECH Vice Chair: DeDe Conner, Kentucky Department of Education

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Closing Remarks

2018–19 Forum Chair Allen Miedema (Northshore School District [WA]) thanked Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) for his leadership of the Forum. Allen highlighted five Forum presentations and a SCED demonstration occurring at the NCES STATS–DC Data Conference and encouraged members to attend these presentations. Allen also reminded Forum members to complete the evaluation forms.

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Steering Committee

Monday, July 23, 2018

Welcome and Review of Monday's Events

Forum Chair Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) welcomed Steering Committee members to the meeting and invited everyone to share their thoughts and comments on the day's events.

  • The new member orientation was well attended, and members particularly appreciated the extended period for small group discussions between new members and mentors. Members suggested that future orientation sessions continue to devote time to small group discussions.
  • Members appreciated National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Commissioner James Lynn Woodworth's, Forum welcome address and presentation on NCES projects.
  • Members noted that Steven Hernandez (U.S. Department of Education [ED]) provided helpful information on cybersecurity. Members are interested in learning more about best practices and practical strategies for responding to cybersecurity threats and would be interested in further information from Steven on this topic. Ghedam Bairu (NCES) suggested that the Forum invite Steven to present via a follow-up webinar.
  • The National Education Statistics Agenda Committee (NESAC) participated in a data breach response training session led by the Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), discussed cybersecurity in state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs), and held breakout discussions on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • The Policies, Programs, and Implementation (PPI) Committee discussed SEA-LEA collaboration across state lines and Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) reporting, cybersecurity in SEAs and LEAs, and reporting gender and sex data.
  • The Technology (TECH) Committee discussed cybersecurity and student data privacy and participated in a data breach response training session led by PTAC.
  • NESAC and TECH members noted that the PTAC training session was very engaging and that they look forward to reviewing the training slides once they are posted to the Forum website. Ghedam noted that the Forum can also invite PTAC to share additional information via webinar.
  • PPI and TECH also discussed NCES's work with the Census Bureau on improved measures of socioeconomic status (SES). Members are interested in follow–up discussions with and updates from NCES on this topic.

Other Issues

  • Marilyn Seastrom (NCES) encouraged the Steering Committee to support SEA and LEA participation in NCES data collections. Ghedam Bairu (NCES) offered to forward any relevant information to Forum members to encourage participation.
  • Members mentioned that it would be helpful for the joint sessions to have microphone stands in lieu of microphone runners.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Review of Tuesday's Events

Steering Committee members discussed the morning joint session, which focused on Forum resources, and time spent in Standing Committees.

  • Members reported that the joint session on data visualization and Forum resources went well, but future Forum resource activities should be shorter.
  • NESAC members discussed topics of interest, including graduation rates, opt-out, gender/sex reporting, organizational data governance, and educator effectiveness. NESAC also welcomed Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) and Kelly Worthington (NCES) to discuss commenting on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) packages, and Janis Brown (ED) for an update on the CRDC. Members developed this list of topics for future NESAC virtual meetings:
    • Collecting and using finance data
    • How SEAs and LEAs support schools with continuous improvement
    • Identifying ways to make EDFacts submissions more efficient
    • Social-emotional data
    • Verifying student transfers
  • PPI welcomed Michael Hawes and Tracy Koumare (ED) to discuss the European Union's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and non–education–focused data requests. PPI members had several questions on GDPR and noted that they look forward to receiving more information on this topic from PTAC. Additionally, Sonya Edwards (California Department of Education) and Kelly Worthington (NCES) discussed commenting on OMB packages, and Marilyn Seastrom (NCES) discussed small cell size. PPI members also discussed Forum products and practices, data privacy, and the transferability of best practices across state lines.
  • TECH members discussed Forum products, including the Forum Guide to Data Visualization: A Resource for Education Agencies, and received updates from the Education Technology, Personalized Learning, and School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) working groups. TECH also discussed working with technology vendors, LEA uses of technology, and federal reporting. Chris Chapman and Tom Snyder (NCES) joined TECH to discuss student access to digital learning resources outside of the classroom, Kelly Worthington (NCES) provided an update on EDFacts, and Janis Brown (ED) provided an update on the CRDC.

Forum Elections

Standing Committee Chairs reported the results of their elections. Proposed Chairs and Vice Chairs for the 2018–19 year were as follows:

  • NESAC Chair: Laura Boudreaux, Louisiana Department of Education
  • NESAC Vice Chair: Cheryl L. VanNoy, Saint Louis Public Schools (MO)
  • PPI Chair: Charlotte Ellis, Maine State Department of Education
  • PPI Vice Chair: Bradley McMillen, Wake County Public School System (NC)
  • TECH Chair: Ken Hutchins, Brandywine School District (DE)
  • TECH Vice Chair: DeDe Conner, Kentucky Department of Education

The Steering Committee proposed Allen Miedema (Northshore School District [WA]) as the Forum Chair and Dean Folkers (Nebraska Department of Education) as the Forum Vice Chair for 2018–19.

Forum Chair Raymond Martin (Connecticut State Department of Education) thanked NESAC Chair Marilyn King (Bozeman School District #7 [MT]), PPI Chair Steve Smith (Cambridge Public Schools [MA]), and TECH Chair Georgia Hughes–Webb (West Virginia Department of Education) for their service.

Other Issues

  • TECH members expressed interest in developing shorter Forum resources. Members also suggested creating shorter supplements to previously published resources to address changes and innovations in education data.
  • NESAC held several concurrent small group discussions. This format worked well for NESAC, given the larger size of the Committee membership, as it helped the established and new members engage in more intimate discussion than what may be feasible in a larger breakout discussion.
  • PPI members appreciated the extended time in Standing Committees but felt that the afternoon session would have benefitted from an additional joint session.
  • NESAC and TECH both used Forum360 to share resources with members during their Standing Committee discussions.
  • NESAC members were interested in knowing whether it is appropriate to post OMB comments on Forum360. Members may use Forum360 to communicate with other Forum members but should note that comments on proposed regulations will only be considered if filed through Regulations.gov Regulations.gov.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Welcome to New Steering Committee Chairs

Newly elected Chair Allen Miedema (Northshore School District [WA]) welcomed new Steering Committee Members to the meeting.

Review of Wednesday's Events

Steering Committee members reviewed the time spent in Standing Committees and the Closing Session.

  • The Steering Committee noted that the Delaware Education Data Forum is a great example of how to promote beneficial SEA-LEA relationships.
  • The Standing Committees identified several topics of interest for future consideration, discussion, webinars, or Forum work:
    • Cohort graduation rates (NESAC)
    • Per-pupil expenditures (PPI)
    • Security protocols and procedures (TECH)
    • Social-emotional learning data collections and measures (NESAC)
    • An online course and/or quiz on data privacy (PPI)
  • NESAC received updates from the SCED and Early Warning Systems Data working groups and discussed Forum products.
  • Cohort graduation rates is a continuing topic of interest to NESAC members. Steering Committee members noted that four-year cohort graduation rates may not accommodate innovations in student learning that can impact student progression, such as competency-based learning and personalized learning.
  • PPI welcomed Rachel Kruse (Iowa Department of Education) to discuss how SCED can support SEA-LEA collaboration and opened the floor to a discussion of topics of interest to PPI members.
  • TECH members discussed Forum meeting logistics. Members suggested that topics of interest across all three committees, such as EdFacts and the CRDC, be featured during joint session presentations rather than individual presentations to each Standing Committee. Members are also interested in using Standing Committee time to develop a tangible product or resource, such as a short white paper on a topic of interest or an outline for a potential working group resource.

Other Issues

Steering Committee members discussed strategies for improving new member engagement:

  • Currently, new members receive a welcome letter with information and resources on the Forum when they are appointed to the Forum. Additionally, virtual meetings for new members are held throughout the year.
  • It would be helpful to assign mentors to new members shortly after the new member is appointed to the Forum.
  • Encouraging mentors and mentees to spend time together prior to the new member orientation would help strengthen mentor-mentee relationships.
  • In addition to the new member orientation, an in-person new member debriefing at the end of the Forum meeting may be useful.
  • New Forum members may be unaware of Forum resources. The new member orientation, or a virtual meeting held before Forum meetings, could include a review of Forum products.
  • A checklist for mentors, along with a list of discussion questions to help facilitate dialog between mentors and mentees, would be useful.
  • NESAC, PPI, and TECH each held breakout discussions during the first day of the meeting. The Steering Committee noted that this was a useful way to get new members engaged in Standing Committee discussions.

Steering Committee conference calls will resume in September 2018. They will be scheduled on the third Friday of each month at 12:00 pm (Eastern).

 

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.