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News Brief

Voluntary, Common Data Standards Introduced

Contact:Maureen  Wentworthmaureenw@ccsso.org202-336-7023One Massachusetts Avenue, NW · Suite 700 Washington, DC 20001-1431

The Common Data Standards Consortium announced today that the CDS Technical Working Group (TWG) launched version 1.0 of the Common Data Standards (CDS) - a core subset of data elements to be adopted voluntarily and become widely accepted and used within and across states in both K-12 and postsecondary sectors. The CDS will support development of a common vocabulary and deeper and more consistent analysis of educational outcomes.

"By involving stakeholders from all levels and sectors of education, this collaborative effort seeks to define a common subset of data elements that states, districts and vendors will want to adopt voluntarily allowing for portability and flexibility," said Paul Lingenfelter, President of the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). "The CDS allows for portability of data as well as flexibility - we are defining a common vocabulary for key indicators of educational success, not dictating how existing data systems collect, store and report the data. Both students and the public will be better served when educators describe success using the same language."

Per the U.S. Census, 15 to 20 percent of school-aged children moved in the previous year, often causing confusion and a lack of knowledge about students' academic histories.

The CDS supports the development of a common vocabulary allowing students to be well served regardless of where they were last year, last semester or last month. Consistent and comparable data will enable more efficient and informed decision-making at all levels of education - by policymakers, administrators, educators and parents - and will promote better educational outcomes for all students. In addition, the CDS will support systemic education reform efforts by illuminating the performance and resource needs for states that adopt the Common Core State Standards or any other high standards.

"Using data to support student learning is a powerful tool. We have begun to see this in our classrooms, and we need to see this consistently within and across districts, systems and states," said Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). "The national dialogue on education makes clear that high standards for all students are essential, evidenced by the large number of states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards. The Common Data Standards will allow for the consistent and comparable data we need to measure our success and identify areas where we can improve classroom instruction and academic support to help all students achieve success."

The Common Data Standards Initiative is made up of the CDS Consortium and the CDS Technical Working Group (TWG) who are working together, across many sectors, to develop and adopt the CDS. The Consortium, a group focused on communication and adoption of the standards, is comprised of representatives from the CCSSO, State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), Data Quality Campaign (DQC), Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIF), and Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC).

The TWG is facilitated by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and its contractors. It includes representatives from the NCES Forum, four state higher education organizations, four USED offices, the CCSSO, SHEEO, DQC, SIF, PESC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.