WASHINGTON— U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will work collaboratively to improve the information collected in the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The partnership between OCR and NCES will help to ensure that the CRDC data is valid, reliable and authenticated in a manner that provides a more accurate picture of key civil rights issues in education.

“OCR has worked to continuously improve CRDC data quality—and has taken unprecedented steps to ensure school districts report accurate data to the Department,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “This agreement between OCR and NCES is one additional step to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help states and school districts provide correct CRDC data that can be relied on by the public, parents and families.”

Under the new agreement, NCES and OCR will work together to support school districts by providing technical assistance resources, training and prompt feedback on identified issues. Through this partnership, OCR and NCES will also work together to review and revise data quality procedures when needed to reflect lessons learned during collection and review of CRDC data.

“NCES is able to bring its appropriate expertise in data quality assessment, data collection and the preparation of data collected under the CRDC,” said Kenneth L. Marcus, assistant secretary for civil rights. “While OCR will continue to oversee the CRDC, the specialized experience NCES will contribute to this process is invaluable—and will only result on the more accurate collection and reporting of civil rights data in schools. I’m looking forward to this partnership with NCES.”

Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), which oversees NCES, said, “NCES is responsible for providing scientific evidence that is critical to education practice and policy. By providing valid and reliable data through surveys, research and evaluations, the quality of education data about American schools will continue to improve. I look forward to this exciting partnership with the Office for Civil Rights to raise the caliber of work that is done through the CRDC.”

This agreement with NCES is yet another step toward improving the collection and reporting of CRDC data. Over the past year, OCR has increased funding to its technical assistance center, which provides support to school districts and works to ensure that they have the information they need to accurately report CRDC data. Additionally, OCR has been working with districts to ensure that the improvement action plans submitted by school districts specifically address data quality. These efforts are already yielding results. With the recent close of the 2017-2018 collection, a record 99.81% of school districts reported their CRDC data to OCR. That success is sure to continue as OCR embarks on its partnership with NCES. OCR relies on the collection and dissemination of data—on key educational and civil rights issues—to carry out its mission of ensuring equal access to education for all students. The CRDC provides data to the public, researchers and policy makers, and informs OCR’s work through the initiation of proactive compliance reviews, monitoring under corrective action plans and the investigation of complaints. NCES is the primary federal entity responsible for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the United States. NCES is responsible for collecting, collating, analyzing and reporting complete statistics on the condition of American education.