Introduction: This checklist can be used to help organize your district/school planning process for verifying data based on the following roles:
Please note that given organizations are unique, this list is to be used as a guide for beginning a dialogue with your team and highlight best practices. It is very important to empower a team of people to drive a verification process. General Considerations
The purpose of the verification process is stated
What type of data is being verified, is it qualitative or quantitative?
Form a team
Allow for time to review
Have the business rules available
Use the three-person verification rule
Implement sign-off processes certifying that verification has occurred
Document changes made during the verification process
Create action items that data teams can use to strengthen the data governance process
Considerations for a Data Analyst: Cater the verification process to the type of data file/document you are using.
When verifying a Data File-Questions to consider:
Why was the data file created?
What was the source of the data used to create the file?
How many times has the file been touched since the file was extracted from a system or created by hand?
What are the column types and what are the dimensions of the file?
What are the primary key fields for the file?
Are the primary key fields for the file represented just once in the file or are there duplicates?
If there are duplicates, what is the cause of the duplication?
If there are duplicates, should the file be reorganized so that the data is better formatted for analysis?
Does the file have an accompanying data dictionary?
When verifying a summary data file-Questions to consider:
When was the summary file created?
What are the sources of data used to make the summary file?
Are all of the data elements included in the summary file from the same time period? If certain data is “older” than others, why is this the case?
Are there footnotes to the data summary file that account for anticipated questions the reader of the file may have?
Were the business rules used to create the summary file automated such that the summary file is the product of an automatic report or were people involved in the process?
Have any processes that this summary file is dependent on been vetted for accuracy?
Considerations for a School Administrator: When Verifying information in Student Management Systems:
Make the verification process continual. Choose a percentage of the student population to be reviewed each week.
Review documentation to make sure that the data being entered into the system is aligned to the business rules for the systems based data attributes
Know which staff were involved in the input of data and have this staff run regular reports to check for the validity of the data entered
Have a process for recording data errors so that they can be documented and remedied.
When Verifying Information in state reports:
Run similar verification reports in the student management system and cross reference with the state reports
Use other resources outside of the student management systems to assist with the verification of state reports. Often those professionals who have responsibility for the education of the students are best suited to answer anomalies that may surface during the data verification process. Also use data sources that may be classroom based or available in hard copy only.
Sign-off that verification has been done and document changes that have been made in the process.
Use previous versions of reports to see if there are any large changes from the last time the same data was reported. Can you account for why those changes have taken place?
Prepare and Plan for End of Year Processing (EOY) of Data Systems
Introduction: This checklist can be used to help organize your district/school planning process for closing out the current school year’s operational database(s) and roll-over to the new school year operational database(s). This list is not all encompassing as it requires details that are specific to your systems. Check List Items:
Set-up EOY meetings (should have at least 4)
EOY day after (recap)
During the planning meeting(s)
Review the number of systems that require EOY processing
Review the number of staff responsible for EOY processing
How many staff are required to be involved in more than one EOY process?
Review documentation for each system
Have all necessary set-ups been complete
Has data been verified that will be archived and no longer accessible to end users?
Determine the phone numbers/online help centers that are made available by the vendor in case product specific assistance is needed.
What “hovering” systems (e.g. data visualization systems) will be impacted?
What is the communication plan to end-users about the effect EOY will have on visualization tools
Will any of the “hovering systems” be discontinued in the coming year?
What is the plan to archive data and eliminate data transfer protocols for those systems
Outline each team member’s role and responsibility. Make sure that each team member has a “buddy” back-up. Make sure that team members represent at a minimum: infrastructure, database management, school liaisons, analysts.
Have each team member mark their calendars accordingly to make sure time is blocked out as to when EOY will occur for each system that is involved.
Conduct a risk management analysis pertaining to each EOY process and how it is going to be mitigated.
Create an EOY task list that is in chronological order of each step that should occur during EOY.
Schedule follow-up meetings to continue the planning process and assign action items until the team has reached consensus that the process is thorough and comprehensive. (Giving it a green light.) The task list organized in chronological order should be a deliverable as evidence that the process is planned.
Address any questions or work environment situations that have occurred and may impact the chronological task list that has been developed.
Conduct a table top exercise with all team members involved. Run through the task list in chronological order.
If there is time, have the back-up “buddies” run through the process.
Make adjustments to the task list in chronological order
Make sure that someone is identified as the project manager and will make sure that each element of the chronological task list is in place. This same person will be responsible for creating the summary of the EOY process.
Have a kick-off meeting
Go over final questions
Continue to record progress and enact troubleshooting procedures when necessary
When the process is complete have a closure meeting
Review task list for completion
Send out communication to end users that the EOY has concluded.
The project manager will review the summary report which provides details regarding the process.
Set tentative dates for the planning meeting and EOY process for the coming year.
Select a tentative team member to have responsibility for the coming year’s process.