Below are some examples of efforts aimed at creating common data standards and classifications, and statewide longitudinal data systems.
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Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) is a national collaborative effort to develop voluntary, common data standards for a key set of education data elements to streamline the exchange, comparison, and understanding of data within and across P-20W institutions and sectors.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released version 3 of the CEDS, which focuses on elements and modeling in the Early Learning, K12, and Postsecondary sectors and also expands into career and technical education, adult education, workforce, and support for the Race to the Top Assessments.
School Courses for the Exchange of Data (SCED) is a voluntary, common classification system for prior-to-secondary and secondary school courses. It can be used to compare course information, maintain longitudinal data about student coursework, and efficiently exchange course-taking records. SCED is based on a five-digit Course Code that provides a basic structure for classifying course content. Additional SCED elements and attributes provide descriptive information about each course.
SCED is updated and maintained by a working group of federal, state, and local education agency representatives, including staff from the Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE), who receive suggestions and assistance from a wide network of subject matter experts at the national, state, and local levels. As a result, SCED is designed to be flexible enough that education agencies can modify it to meet their needs.
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), in conjunction with a number of national and state partners, is sponsoring a project to explore how to expand and improve data exchange between industry certification organizations and state longitudinal data systems. The current certification partners include CompTIA and the Manufacturing Institute. The Department of Education is interested in this effort to develop solutions to the issues surrounding state collection of valid and reliable data as industry certifications and licensure are a growing part of the expected outcomes of career and technical education programs. The Department is also interested in interacting with other federal agencies with similar interests, a goal this project will help meet.
Over the next year, the project will focus on raising awareness of the need for improving data exchange as well as conducting a pilot between CompTIA and/or NAM working with up to five states to replicate and expand on the Illinois project over a one-year time period starting in December 2012.