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22nd Annual MIS Conference 2009

Concurrent Session I Presentations

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
10:15 - 11:15

I–A EDEN and SIRS: A Flexible Marriage of Many
Ron Danforth, New York State Education Department
Tom Kumiega, Western New York Regional Information Center
Tim Garrison, eScholar, LLC
    This session described the processes used in New York for extracting data from its statewide data warehouse, known affectionately as SIRS—Student Information Repository System—and other legacy sources of data to generate the Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) data files. Roles of the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Western New York Regional Information Center (RIC) and eScholar were discussed. Attendees learned what challenges NYSED and its partners encountered as they steadily moved toward a more modern and robust data environment capable of meeting all state and federal reporting requirements.

Sessions in Statewide Data Systems (SDS) track:

I–B Taking SIF Certification to the Next Level
Peter Coleman, Virginia Department of Education
Gay Sherman, CPSI, Ltd., Schools Interoperability Framework Association Certification Committee
Laurie Collins, Schools Interoperability Framework Association
    Moving the data needed for state and Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) reporting in an automated interoperable environment can be challenging. To ensure that the data elements needed are available, Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) Certification has become a requirement in many purchases and requests for proposals (RFPs). Many states have recognized the strength of this and are requesting SIFA to take it to the next level to ensure they are getting at the data elements of interest for them. The Association and the Oklahoma State Department of Education successfully piloted the SIF Oklahoma Organizational Profile. From this pilot, the Certification Committee of the Association has been able to recommend the continuation of Organizational Profiles and expand out the certification program to include Functionality Profiles. In this session, they presented the white paper for the SIF Oklahoma Organizational Profile, the conclusions, lessons learned, and the recommendations for other states.

Sessions in Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) track:

I–C Using Census Data Within the School District
Richard Struense, National Center for Education Statistics
Paul Harder, Fulcrum IT Services Company

    Geo-coding is the process of taking a set of student addresses and converting them to Census community identifiers, which contain ZIP code and "Census block group" information. This information, when gathered for a group of students, allows a demographic profile of the group to emerge.

    It is important to understand that the Census community identifier tells only about the geographic area in which the student resides and not about the student, the student's family, or the student's residence. Collected for a group of students, the Census community identifier supports the reporting of a rich array of demographic characteristics regarding the communities in which students live, including information about ethnicity, household income, educational attainment levels, and the like. Once extracted, the data can be merged with local data to provide many internal assessments and reporting attributes.

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Sessions in Data Use/Data Standards track:

I–D Every School Day Counts
Bill Smith, Sioux Falls School District (South Dakota)
Alyssa Alston, Council of Chief State School Officers
    This free new Forum Guide advises readers on collecting and classifying high-quality attendance data to provide schools and districts with actionable information that can be used to improve attendance. "Every School Day Counts: The Forum Guide to Collecting and Using Attendance Data" makes the case for high-quality attendance data, presents a standard taxonomy for defining attendance data, addresses common challenges related to accurate and comparable attendance data, and describes how schools and districts have used their data to improve student attendance.

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Sessions in Data Use/Data Standards track:

I–E PK-12 Data Model, Handbooks Online, and SIFA: What They Are and How They All Fit Together
Hugh Walkup and Ghedam Bairu, National Center for Education Statistics
Larry Fruth, Schools Interoperability Framework Association
Beth Young, Quality Information Partners, Inc.
    Over the past few years, the Forum and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) have led the development of a comprehensive PK-12 data model which organizes and catalogs all the information maintained by schools and districts in the course of conducting their daily business. NCES's Handbooks Online provides a listing of all data elements that might be needed for decision making related to managing an education system, reporting to state and federal education agencies, and computing indicators of school effectiveness. The Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA) is a non-profit organization that brings together vendors, government agencies, state departments of education, and other industry leaders to develop a specification ensuring that PK-12 instructional and administrative software applications can share information seamlessly. This session provided an overview of each of these projects including their websites and recent work. This session also showed the overlap between these three projects and discussed future plans for further integration of this work.

Sessions in Data Use/Data Standards track:

I–G Partnering With Districts to Ensure Data Quality; Taming the Data Monster: Steps to Implementing Statewide Data Standards
Chris Cassel, Nebraska Department of Education
Bill Hurwitch and Brian Snow, Maine Department of Education
Manos Stefanakos, ESP Solutions Group

    This presentation described Nebraska's approach to providing meaningful and timely feedback to districts regarding data quality, including instructions, rejecting certain data during load processes, validation reports (errors and warnings), verification reports, ad hoc "lookup" reports to research issues, and data quality training.

    The Maine Department of Education established a Data Management Team in 2006 to begin the process of controlling the massive amount of data collected in an unknown number of silos. This session reviewed the steps taken to create a data governance structure, complete a data sources inventory, implement an education data dictionary, and begin the process of developing a statewide student information system. A demonstration of the new Maine Data Dictionary utilizing the DataSpecs Online tool from ESP Solutions Group was given.

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Sessions in Longitudinal Data Systems (LDS) track:

I–H A Code of Ethics for Data People
Tom Purwin, Jersey City Public Schools (New Jersey)
Stephen Q. Cornman, National Center for Education Statistics
The Data Ethics Task Force
    Management information personnel work under laws that safeguard the confidentiality of student data while technical standards govern the quality of data and the data systems that produce them. But what about data ethics? The increasing demand for education data and research has brought with it a sudden, and perhaps unexpected, imperative to open a dialogue with data personnel about their ethical responsibilities—especially regarding how they appropriately use technology to access, use, share, and manage education data. The "Forum Code of Data Ethics" is written to help make core ethical principles understandable and actionable for staff as they work with data in their education organizations. The document presents summary text, vignettes, recommended procedures, and training points for each of nine "best practice" canons of ethical conduct. Participants joined task force members to discuss the document and learned how an education organization can establish ethics guidelines and training initiatives for data handlers in this age of technology.

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Sessions in Other track:

I–I The Kids Count Community-Level Indicators (CLIKS) on Kids Database: A Tool for Examining Local Conditions of Child and Family Well-Being
Maya Magarati and Hilary Loeb, Human Services Policy Center
Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington
    Washington Kids Count's Community-Level Indicators for Kids (CLIKS) online resource enables users to access over 100 county-level education, demographic, health, juvenile justice, and economic indicators. This presentation provided an overview of the CLIKS database that is available in many states and examples of how it can be a tool to take a closer look at the local conditions influencing the lives of children and families. A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state effort providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being.

Sessions in Washington State track: