Production and Quality of Education Information

T-PEMD-88-4: Published: Apr 20, 1988. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1988.

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GAO discussed the condition of information on education in the United States, focusing on Department of Education information and data collection operations. GAO noted that: (1) federally sponsored research and statistical and evaluative information on education significantly declined during the past decade; (2) federal research awards for information gathering shifted away from new data collection to service-oriented activities and there were fewer educational research grants; (3) the procurement of information production shifted from grants to contracts; (4) activities which did not carry a congressional mandate were more vulnerable to fiscal constraints; (5) mandated activities frequently lacked special-resource appropriations and oversight; and (6) frequent leadership changes caused changes in priorities and activities. GAO also noted that fiscal constraints caused: (1) a decline in the relevance and timeliness of the National Assessment of Educational Progress; (2) relevance, timeliness, and technical adequacy problems in the Common Core of Data Program; and (3) a need to improve the Fast Response Survey System's reporting procedures. GAO believes that Education needs to: (1) systematically evaluate its information and data gathering activities; and (2) conduct both technical and broad-based oversight of these activities.

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