Data Quality Community of Practice Summary

Community of Practice: Data Quality

CoP Description: The quality of data entered into a system will greatly affect the quality of the output of the data and, as a result, the appropriate use of the data. Although states are very cognizant of the need for accurate and timely data on public education, they face many challenges to consistently collect, integrate, and report high-quality data. Numerous factors contribute to these challenges, such as having outdated or inadequate internal control policies and practices, changing business rules and reporting requirements, limited resources for communication with and training of local education agency (LEA) staff, and inconsistent monitoring and evaluation procedures once data are reported. Data quality is a priority and a concern, not only for state and local education agencies but also for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as for other ED offices serving states’ data needs. All stakeholders who use education data must have confidence in the data or the data become useless.

This CoP was focused on data submitted to the Department of Education outside of state report cards, such as through EDFacts files (not to be confused with reporting data on state and local report cards).The State Support Network Data Quality Community of Practice (CoP) provided state education agency (SEA) teams an opportunity to share challenges and potential solutions to problems of practice related to data quality. Specific data quality topics discussed in the CoP focused on:

  • State processes for data quality reform
  • A federal framework for internal control
  • Data validation
  • Engaging and communicating with LEAs
  • Data staffing.

Participants received specialized technical knowledge from their peers as well as from national subject matter experts. They learned approaches to enhance their collection of high-quality data, increase the accuracy and timeliness of data for reporting, and implement efficient monitoring and validation processes. SEAs and other stakeholders that engaged and collaborated in this CoP demonstrated an understanding of common challenges for ensuring high-quality data collection, organization, and reporting. They determined solutions to apply to these challenges through identifying, designing, and customizing approaches for their respective states. By the end of the CoP, participating SEAs had new resources useful in helping to identify action steps for implementing strategies to improve data quality plans and practices.

The resources below were used during learning cycle virtual meetings and asynchronous activities. The resources were provided to CoP members from subject matter experts (SMEs), and are comprised of resources those subject matter experts created for the work of the CoP and items curated from other technical assistance providers.

Participating SEAs: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Pennsylvania,  South Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin

CoP Duration: September 2018 through May 2019