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This document recommends a set of core practices, operations, and templates that can be adopted and adapted by local education agencies (LEAs) as they consider how to respond to requests for both new and existing data about the education enterprise. These recommendations reflect core best practices for: (1) managing the flow of requests; (2) establishing response priorities; (3) monitoring appropriate methods and use; (4) protecting privacy; and (5) ensuring that research efforts are beneficial to the education agency. LEAs vary tremendously in their needs, circumstances, structure, and settings--yet core practices apply to the vast majority of education organizations. When organizations adapt or adopt recommended core practices, they: (1) invest in efficiencies that can lower operational costs and improve operations; (2) confirm that existing policies meet expected standards and regulations; (3) contribute to a body of best practices that advance the field of education data; (4) increase the academic benefit of research findings to students, staff, and schools; (5) support data-driven policy decisions and evidence-based actions in LEAs; and (6) contribute to the development of data-sharing standards, which has advantages for both education agencies and researchers. It should be noted that a corollary, but significant, benefit to following core practices when supporting research is the improved relationships between LEAs; individual researchers; and the colleges, universities, and policy organizations that frequently employ education researchers. Although taking time to establish a formal process for supporting appropriate data access may seem daunting, the outcomes of such an effort include reducing the overall burden of supporting research and minimizing risks of access control errors (e.g., data breaches, data misuse, and failure to provide appropriate oversight). The primary audience for this document is data policymakers and managers in LEAs who are generally responsible for managing and responding to requests from researchers for data access. These requests come from diverse sources, ranging from members of the research community to advocacy organizations, the media, the public, and other parties interested in education data. An additional important audience for this resource is the research community that submits requests to LEAs (additional information for the research community is available in Appendix C). This document is intended to help LEAs determine whether and how to voluntarily fulfill requests from researchers for access to new and existing education data, including confidential or otherwise restricted data. Appended are: (1) Model of Success; (2) Example Research Agenda; (3) Information for Researchers; (4) Consent/Assent Form Guidance; (5) Preliminary Data Access Request Form; (6) Full Data Access Request Form; (7) Data Access Agreement Form; (8) Agreement Modification Request Form; (9) Personal Access Agreement Form; (10) Data Destruction Certification Form; (11) Reference Landing Page; and (12) Related Resources.

Descriptors: Best Practices, Access to Information, Agency Cooperation, Educational Researchers, State Departments of Education, Data

National Forum on Education Statistics. 1990 K Street NW Room 9095, Washington, DC 2006. Fax: 202-502-7475; Web site:

Autor: National Forum on Education Statistics


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