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

Lesson: Communication


Data Steward/Coordinator


This lesson addresses challenges related to communicating about quality data planning and development within a Local Education Agency (LEA). This lesson would typically be given toward the end of the training.


  • Identify the district staff who need to be involved in data quality planning and who should be informed of data quality issues.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various methods by which information on data quality can be disseminated.
  • Develop an ongoing professional development plan/structure for all appropriate district staff with regard to data quality issues.
  • Develop a list of existing and needed documentation regarding data quality issues and develop resources to assist in the creation of further documentation.

Instructor Preparation

  • Remind participants to bring their filled out copy of the Data Steward/Coordinator Responsibility Assignments checklist from the Data Steward/Coordinator Responsibilities session or, if you have collected them, have the checklists ready to distribute.
  • Print a copy of the Examples of Communication Tools and Techniques list for your own reference during the introductory discussion.
  • Look over the items listed in the first column of the Communication Grid and choose two or three for discussion. The discussion should focus on the different ways participants might address the communication issues involved.
  • Make two to three copies of the Data Calendar Starter Grid for each participant.
  • Make a single copy of the following lesson resources (which can be found on the Lesson Resources column at the top of this page) for each participant
    • Communication Grid
    • Professional Development Planning

Essential Learnings

  • The Data Steward/Coordinator should communicate with all the other key players not only by conveying the facts of a situation, but also by advocating for the importance of establishing a culture of quality data at all levels of the LEA.
  • Communication regarding data quality concerns takes place in various ways:
    • through written policies and documentation;
    • by disseminating reports that allow end users to both evaluate the quality of the data in the report and realize the importance of quality data in sdetailhighheadport of their responsibilities;
    • in ongoing professional development;
    • by providing feedback to data entry staff on the quality of the data and its impact on the LEA and its students; and
    • during meetings in which the need to reach decisions makes obvious the need for reliable facts (that is, quality data).
  • Communication is so essential to the successful establishment of a culture of quality data that some communication activities should be formally incorporated into the LEA’s data calendar.