This notebook contains a compendium of the standards of the Center for Education Statistics, CES legislation and a description of the CES publication review process.   It is intended for CES staff and contractors to guide them in their data "collection, analysis, and dissemination activities.   It also presents a clear statement for contractors and users of CES data regarding how the data should be collected in CES surveys and the limits and acceptable applications for the use of CES data. With the adoption of written standards, we expect that CES products and procedures will become more uniform in their collection and application.
The standards program started in 1985 as a result of recommendations from the Center's Advisory Council on Education Statistics (ACES). Standards materials developed by CES staff to guide data collection and reporting were assembled. In addition, a search was made among journals of professional organizations and with other Federal agencies to find models for standards, both in terms of content and in the range of topics covered. Two documents stood out: The Energy Information Administration Standards Hanual, and an article in the Journal of the American Statistical Association entitled "Standards for Discussion and Presentation of Errors in Survey and Census Data", which was a revision of Technical Paper 32 (same title) from the Bureau of the Census.
Discussions were held by Center staff with principals from other statistical agencies, members of the statistical community interested in the topic, and ultimately with members of ACES and with members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Panel to Evaluate the National Center for Education Statistics. The NAS Panel was convened to review the work of the Center and to make recommendations regarding improvement of its operations. One specific recommendation was:
  The panel recommends that the Center develop, publish, disseminate, and implement standards to guide the conduct of all phases of its work, from development of objectives through collection, follow-up and processing and including the preparation, review, analysis, and publication of results.  
This document is the culmination of the reviews and discussions of Center staff with outside experts and advocates. The number of standards has varied, as has the content of each during the developmental period. This first publication is the end product of a process of distilling the essential issues facing the Center, and determining how the Center can best meet its objectives in a professional manner. First drafts for many of the standards were reviewed by staff concerned with statistical data analysis or processing issues. These drafts were circulated to the entire Center staff, and then meetings were held with each of the Divisions to discuss changes to the standards and to get recommendations on additional standards needed. This process served both to introduce staff to the standards and to get the entire staff involved in the production of the standards.
There are currently 21 standards adopted by the Center, presented in this notebook. In the fall of 1987, a review of each of the standards will be conducted, with revisions issued in the spring of 1988. The review will consider whether the standards have been put into operation, what aspects of the standards have kept the standards from being fully implemented, whether there remain any gaps in the standards, and whether the standards are consistent among themselves.   The standards will also be reviewed with an eye towards whether they are clear in setting forth attainable goals or present instead prosaic but unattainable ideals.
This notebook contains eight sections:        
  o Standards on Planning          
  o Standards on RFP Development/Contract Monitoring    
  o Standards on Project Implementation/Data-Collection/Processing 
o Standards on Release/Publication of Data
o Standards on Sampling and Non-Sampling Error 
o CES Legislation
  o Publication Policy 
o Other
Finally, note that each standard has a three-field reference number. The first field refers to the year the standard was implemented, the second field refers to the subject group of the standard, and the last field is the sequence number of the standard within its subject group. These numbers have been added to facilitate cross references among the standards.