AERA Participates in Public Forum on Federal Data Strategy
 
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November 2018

Left to Right: Tessie Catsambas, American
Evaluation Association; Lloyd Etheredge,
Policy Sciences Center; Nick Hart, Bipartisan
Policy Center; Sylvie Platre, Performance
Quest, LLC; George Wimberly, AERA

On November 8, the Bipartisan Policy Center and White House Office of Management and Budget jointly hosted a public forum, “Promising Practices for the Federal Government’s Data Strategy,” to provide the public an opportunity to comment on a draft set of practices of the Federal Data Strategy. Speakers representing a broad range of stakeholders, including AERA, were invited to provide feedback and provide suggestions for specific actions agencies can take to implement the practices, which were recently published in the Federal Register.

In March 2018, the President’s Management Agenda outlined a goal to develop and implement a comprehensive government-wide Federal Data Strategy, designed to deliver a more consistent approach to federal data stewardship, use, and access.

During the morning sessions, panelists tackled key propositions in the Federal Data Strategy and provided an overview of issues, including enterprising data governance; access, use, and augmentation of data; and the commercialization, innovation, and public use of data.

In the third session of the day, AERA Director of Professional Development George Wimberly offered remarks on how education researchers use data from various federal, state, and local agencies to address important education issues that can inform education and state policy.

“As a scientific organization, AERA is deeply engaged in working on safe, secure, and trustworthy access to quality data that is invaluable in addressing practice- and policy-related questions,” said Wimberly. “Our members use and analyze federal statistics and data in their research and depend on the reliability and accessibility of this data to address a wide range of pressing questions about education to best improve policy and practice decision making. AERA enthusiastically supports the principles, practices, and action steps outlined in the proposed Federal Data Strategy to enhance leveraging data.”

AERA recently sent comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce, addressing the principles, practices, and action steps outlined in the proposed Federal Data Strategy to enhance leveraging data. “The 47 practices identified have the potential to contribute to trustworthy and reliable data collection; secure access to data; data use; and ultimately sound scientific research that is evidence-based,” states the letter.

In the afternoon sessions, representatives from the Association for Psychological Science, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Geological Survey, and others built upon the morning’s discussion, calling for increased data management, including establishing data policies; specifying roles and responsibilities for data privacy, security, and confidentiality protection; and monitoring compliance with standards and policies.

During his concluding remarks, Christian Hoehner, director of policy at the Data Coalition, highlighted critical takeaways from the discussions, including “how to safely combine datasets, how artificial intelligence extracts data from systems, how methodologies can move entities beyond compliance to better performance, a call for increased understanding of how data analytics adds value to data assets, and how modern platforms can break down data silos to keep information in context.”

The forum was one in a series of steps toward developing a comprehensive Federal Data Strategy. Between now and April 2019, the Federal Data Strategy development team will be seeking and synthesizing inputs and developing solutions through an iterative process. Updates will be posted at strategy.data.gov. To listen to a recording of the public forum, click here.

 
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