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National Data Conference Highlights Privacy, Innovations

The education data-junkies among you may be packing your bags already for the National Center for Education Statistics' annual National Forum on Education Statistics and NCES Data Conference next week.

While STATS-D.C. is always geared to the technical side, this year, policymakers, educators and researchers alike may be interested in the explosion of new sessions on using state longitudinal data systems and the piles of new data coming in from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This year's forum, wryly titled, "You Want it When? Balancing Timeliness and Quality," will include workshops by some states on the cutting edge of data use:

• Kansas officials will discuss how they turned the necessity of data reporting under the fiscal-stimulus law into an opportunity to provide feedback to high schools on their students' postsecondary careers.

• Arkansas experts will analyze how well the data generated at the state level is working its way into classroom instruction.

• Maryland officials will explain how the state is starting to connect early childhood data to K-12 data, and how that helps.

The conference will also feature a keynote address by the Education Department's new chief privacy officer, Kathleen Styles, who will break down the benefits and challenges of using all this new data.

I will be live-tweeting the conference from Wednesday through Friday, so let me know what you are learning and what the hot topics are this year. See you there!

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