Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Data Quality

The following materials were developed by ECO to help states improve the quality of their outcomes data. For quality assurance materials developed by states, please visit the State-Developed Quality Assurance Materials page.

An overview to ensuring quality data is provided in the presentation PPT: Quality Assurance: Looking for Quality Data (January 2013).

Pattern Checking to Ensure Data Quality

This document provides guidance on analyzing and displaying Child Outcome Summary (COS) data to investigate the quality of the COS ratings. For each pattern discussed, a rationale, expected pattern, unexpected pattern and guidance for interpretation are provided.

This table describes strategies for using data analysis to improve the quality of state data by looking for patterns that indicate potential issues for further investigation. The pattern checking table was revised July 2012. Work is currently underway to expand the document including information about how to use the table and example visual displays of patterns. The expanded version will be posted as soon as it is available.

The Looking at Data presentation covers child outcomes data analysis and use and is designed for intermediate or advanced learners, particularly those who are responsible for or interested in data management, interpretation, and reporting.

Documenting the COS Rating

This guidance is meant to help COS teams practice writing the evidence that supports ratings given on the COS form. The written evidence provides a rationale for the rating and therefore should include examples of functioning that led to the rating. The guidance accompanies the version of the COS form with supporting evidence organized by level of functioning, found on the Child Outcomes Summary (COS) Form and Instructions page.

  • Guidance for Documenting the Rating on the Childhood Outcomes Summary (COS) form with Evidence Organized by Level of Functioning (December 2010)

A local program developed the one-page document at the link below as a quick reference for teams documenting the COS rating:

Guidance for Reviewing Completed COS Forms

This document describes what to look for when reviewing completed COS forms for quality, including accuracy and adequate, appropriate supporting evidence.

COS Form Record Review

These forms can be used as part of a process for comparing COS ratings with assessment and other information in the child's records.

Some states also have developed their own forms to review COS records. Examples are below.

Implementation Surveys

The ECO Center has assisted several states in developing implementation surveys. Surveys of providers can help identify issues that influence data quality and help states plan technical assistance and training activities.

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2020 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute