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Errors in Best High School Rankings signal need for data quality

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Data errors were recently uncovered in the latest edition of the U.S. News 2012 Best High School Rankings, which was released in May, according to U.S. News education writer Bob Morse. The reports are published annually to give parents and students transparent views of standardized points of comparison between schools, Morse explains.

The lists are generated based on the U.S. Department of Education's Common Core of Data, which included data errors for the number of economically disadvantaged students in attendance and the College Readiness Index, the source reports.

While Morse maintains that just a few high schools were affected by these errors, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) revisited the data, made necessary adjustments to the rankings and checked the information for other inaccuracies. Since then, the NCES has announced it's taking additional data quality measures to ensure reports will be correct in the future.

Collecting data in academic environments can prove challenging, explains the Database Journal, because schools are traditionally siloed and don't always recognize the value in harnessing and cleansing information. However, they stand to benefit from the vast amount of data once it's collected and organized into meaningful structures for analysis.