National Indicators Projects

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The Condition of Education: Annual report published by the U.S. Education Department's National Center on Education Statistics since 1986. Provides national data on nearly 50 indicators of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The National Science Foundation is also developing a biennial compendium of science-education indicators.

Education Data Systems Improvement Project: Begun in 1985 by the Council of Chief State School Officers, under contract with the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics. Designed to improve the quality of statistics collected each year by the federal government from the state education agencies by making the definition of terms and the compilation of data more comparable from one state to another.

The project is currently helping states to computerize and revise their data-collection programs to be congruent with the new national definitions. The project is attempting to come up with comparable dropout and high-school-completion data for each state within the next two years.

Council of Chief State School Officers Indicators Project: Approved by the chiefs at their annual meeting in 1984 and refined in 1985. Purpose to improve on the federal government's now-defunct "wall chart," which compared student performance by state. The chiefs agreed to release an annual report card on the status of education, which would include educational inputs, programs, and outcomes for each state. The first report card was issued in 1987.

The chiefs originally planned to collect comparable student-achievement data from the states--using items from old NAEP assessments-beginning in 1988-89. That activity has been put on hold, because of the Congress's decision to allow NAEP to be used for generating state-level data on an experimental basis.

The entire indicators project is now being reassessed in light of the national-goals report card and other assessment activities under way.

Council of the Great City Schools: The council has developed an indicators project based on the six goals that it has set for urban school districts. The first report is scheduled for release in January.

Special Study Panel on Education Indicators: Congressionally mandated panel of educators, academics, and policy analysts. Its final report was released in the fall of 1991.

Recommended that the U.S. Education Department expand and revamp its statistics branch to create an "education-information system" focused on six broad issues: learner outcomes, the quality of educational institutions, children's readiness for school, societal support for learning, education and economic productivity, and equity.

Also recommended that the N.C.E.S. scrap The Condition of Education in favor of biennial interpretive reports on each of the six issue areas identified by the panel. The reports would include state-by-state comparisons. Such a system would be broader and longer lasting than the national report cards on education issued by the governors, according to the panel.

The panel also recommended the development of new measures, including an early-childhood assessment for 3- and 6-year-olds and an expansion of NAEP into more content areas. Chairman, Alan D. Morgan, superintendent of education in New Mexico.

Vol. 11, Issue 08, Page 15

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