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

Lesson: Assessing Your Local Education Agency's Data Quality


All Key Players1


This lesson is one of four workshops that serve as an introduction to building a culture of quality education data. All participants should complete all four workshops for maximum benefits. In this workshop, participants will begin to identify the elements that go into a culture of quality data and to assess their school or district with regard to data quality issues.


  • Determine the status of data quality in participants’ schools.
  • Begin planning to improve schools’ data
  • Identify factors affecting data quality.

Instructor Preparation

Essential Learnings

  • Establishing a culture of quality data in a Local Education Agency (LEA) requires thought and planning, as do all transformational and strategic initiatives. After determining what is meant by a "culture of quality data," one of the next steps is assessing the nature of the data culture as it currently exists in the school or district.
  • Many factors and practices in an LEA contribute to the quality of its data: standards and guidelines, policies and regulations, training and professional development, appropriate data documentation (e.g., calendars, data dictionaries, business rules), technology, etc. Having a Data Steward/Coordinator with primary responsibility for overseeing all these efforts can be an important factor in the successful transformation of the data culture.


1 Key players include board members, superintendents, principals, data stewards/coordinators, teachers, technology support staff, and office staff.
2 In think/pair/share activities, participants are asked to think about an issue or question, talk with a partner about their responses, and then share those responses with the larger group.