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Statistical Standards Program

Statistical Standards

Written Standards were first developed at NCES in 1987 when 21 standards were formally accepted by the Congressionally mandated Advisory Council on Education Statistics. These standards were published and distributed throughout NCES. In 1989, NCES undertook a thorough review of the initial statistical standards; this effort involved many participants and resulted in the 1992 publication of 20 standards and two related guidelines that were used by NCES from 1992 to 2002.

Many of the existing standards withstood the test of time; however, several areas emerged that require further consideration. The most recent standards revision activity began in the summer of 1999. A multi-step process started with a review of the existing standards in the context of other national and international standards. Then, through the establishment of a Steering Committee and 15 Working Groups, over one-half of NCES staff participated firsthand in the revision of our statistical standards. The draft revised standards were vetted through a series of internal seminars, approved by the NCES Senior Management Staff, reviewed and recommended for adoption by an independent panel of experts established by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, and finally adopted for an October 1 2002 release of the 2002 NCES Statistical Standards. That release coincided with the formal implementation of OMB, Department, and agency-specific Information Quality Guidelines.

The Statistical Standards Program consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of statistical data collections in the Center. Program staff also provides consultation and advise to the NCES Data Cooperatives, and to other offices within the Department of Education as the need arises.