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Misreported Data: Who's Responsible?

I just received a school wide demographics report for my site from the district, and find myself questioning some of the statistics provided. Whose responsibility is it to make sure that the data reported are accurate?

With today's increased emphasis on accountability, school administrators and data entry personnel must all take responsibility for accurate reporting. While you can't spend your day looking over people's shoulders as data is entered, you do need to be sure that staff understands the importance of careful data collection and reporting. Then you need to review reports for mistakes before they are released. If something in a document doesn't jive with what you know to be true or reasonable, you need to investigate and have inaccuracies corrected before the report is distributed.

A recent incident in the Southwest underscores the importance of accurate data reporting. A school administrator and a technician were called to task for submitting a report that included incorrect statistics about the school's dropout rates. Although neither were accused of intentionally altering data, both admitted the data was suspect and that despite their own questions, they did not investigate further. Disciplinary action was taken against both employees.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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