ED PERFORMANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY
Department of Education FY 2010 E-Government Act Report
October 14, 2010
Archived Information


Section 1 - Innovation and Transparency

Describe your top three E-Government IT accomplishments related to Open Government and innovation from this year. You are encouraged to confer with your Open Government Senior Accountable Official. If you have questions on who is your agency’s Senior Accountable Official, please email opengov@ostp.gov.

The U.S. Department of Education is highlighting three data-centered Open Government initiatives for the FY10 E-Gov Act Report. These initiatives exemplify the agency’s commitment to transparency, participation and collaboration in programs.

ED Data Express

ED Data Express, http://eddataexpress.ed.gov, was launched in August 2010 to improve the public's ability to access and explore high-value state-level education data collected by the Department. The site is designed to be interactive and to present the data in a clear, easy-to-use manner, with options to download information into Excel or manipulate the data within the website. The site currently includes data from several sources, including EDFacts, Consolidated State Performance Reports, State Accountability Workbooks, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the College Board, and the Department's Budget Service office. The site includes data ranging from graduation rates to basic financial information.

ED Data Express includes three tools that allow users to access and view the data: a State Snapshots page, a Data Element Explorer, and a Build a State Table page. The State Snapshot pages include charts and tables with key data for each state. The Data Element Explorer allows users to view a single element across all states, both graphically and in a table. The Build a State Table page allows users to build customized tables by selecting specific data elements and specific states. The site also contains extensive documentation in the form of footnotes, FAQs, and an About page to help users understand how to properly interpret the data.

The Department will release version 2.0 of the site early in 2011. Version 2.0 will have a number of enhancements, with a focus on additional ways to visualize the data (such as graphic maps and filtering tools). It will also be designed to interface with social networking applications, such as Facebook and Digg, so the information can easily be shared and discussed.

Data and Content Coordination Team

The Department has placed a high priority on making more data publicly available and using data to inform education decision-making. The agency recently established the Data and Content Coordination (DACC) team to achieve this vision by enhancing data and content coordination across information technology initiatives and improving the transparency of information that the Department communicates to the public. The DACC team’s Executive Committee is chaired by the Chief Information Officer and includes representatives from the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development; Office of Communications and Outreach; Office of the Deputy Secretary; and the National Center for Education Statistics. The DACC Executive Committee ensures new information management and dissemination efforts are communicated among internal stakeholders to avoid duplication, inconsistency, and confusion in our public presentations; identifies opportunities for better coordination and consistency; and improves transparency by building on Open Government efforts already under way at the Department.

The DACC Executive Committee has assembled two teams of ED employees – the ED Content Strategy Team and the ED Data Strategy Team – to work in parallel to support communication, analysis, and coordination of these efforts. The ED Content Strategy Team works to accomplish the DACC goals by ensuring all content related to ED’s organizations, program, policy, grants, and grantees is presented in a clear, accurate, and integrated manner. This group evaluates the management of program content on public-facing websites such as www.ed.gov and data.ed.gov. The ED Data Strategy Team identifies opportunities for multi-project coordination or alignment to support States’ use of data through the agency’s data websites and the technical assistance it provides to grantees. As the Department strives to use data in innovative ways for these purposes, this team aims to improve its web interfaces, consolidate existing data interfaces, establish common platforms and structures for publishing data, and ultimately determine a governance structure to manage this work for the long-term.


Section 2 - Compliance with Goals and Provisions of the Act

A. Your agency’s Information Resources Management (IRM) Strategic Plan and Enterprise Architecture (EA) Plan;

The Department's IRM Strategic Plan is posted on ED.gov:
download files MS Word (1.3M)
download files PDF (1M)

The Department's EA Transition Plan is posted on ED.gov:
download files MS Word (3.2MB)
download files PDF (1.3KB)

B. For each E-Gov initiative, provide final determinations, priorities, and schedules. Also include your agency’s information dissemination product catalogs, directories, inventories, and any other management tools used to improve the dissemination of and access to your agency’s information by the public;

The Department is committed to providing its full range of information to the public. A primary vehicle for doing so is the Department’s main website, ED.gov. ED.gov offers regularly updated information on the administration’s priorities as well as Department grants and contracts, federal student financial aid, education research and statistics, and agency policy and programs (please see http://www.ed.gov). The Department developed an inventory of website content, http://www.ed.gov/notices/egovinventory.html, as required by Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002. The Department offers a one-stop system for ordering its publications (http://edpubs.ed.gov/), an array of e-newsletters (http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/index.html), and an RSS feed (http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/rssnewsfeed.html). The Department also uses social media sites to help communicate the Secretary's message and priorities. A complete list of the agency’s social media pages, feeds, and channels is at: http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/focus/social-media.html.

C. Identify improved performance (e.g., outcome measures) by tracking performance measures supporting agency objectives and strategic goals;

Department-wide annual plans and performance reports, http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/index.html, describe the goals and intended outcomes of agency programs and initiatives. Annual strategies and targets are published in performance plans in advance of each fiscal year; results are reported in annual performance and accountability reports following the fiscal year end.

D. Your agency’s FOIA handbook, the URL of your agency’s primary FOIA Web site, and the URL where frequent requests for records are made available to the public;

The Department's primary FOIA website is:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/foiatoc.html.

The Department provides a link from its primary FOIA website to the DOJ FOIA Guide:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/foiatoc.html.

The Department provides information to assist requesters to "make a FOIA request." The web address for "How to Make a Request" is:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/request.html.

The Department's "frequently requested records" web page is:
http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/foia/readingroom_2.html.

E. A list of your agency’s public Web sites disseminating research and development (R&D) information to the public, describing for each whether the website provides the public information about federally funded R&D activities and/or provides the results of Federal research;

The Department's primary Web site, ED.gov, hosts a portal page that serves as the starting point to ED research and statistics information (http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/landing.jhtml). The main ED organization that supports ED research and statistics is the Institute of Education Sciences (http://ies.ed.gov/).

F. An inventory describing formal agency agreements (e.g., contracts, memorandum of understanding) with external entities (e.g., partnerships with State and local governments, public libraries, industry and commercial search engines) complementing your agency’s information dissemination program, briefly explaining how each agreement improves the access to and dissemination of government information to the public;

Besides http://www.ed.gov, http://ies.ed.gov, http://studentaid.ed.gov/, the agency's main sources of information for the public, the Department has contracted for the following to complement its information dissemination program:

  • EDpubs, http://edpubs.ed.gov/webstore/Content/search.asp, and FSAPubs, http://www.fsapubs.gov/, are intended to help customers identify and order U.S. Department of Education products. All publications are provided at no cost to the general public by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), http://eric.ed.gov/, provides free access to more than 1.2 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials and, if available, includes links to full text.
  • What Works Clearinghouse, http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/, provides educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works in education.
  • Doing What Works, http://dww.ed.gov/, provides effective teaching practices and examples of possible ways to implement them. These practices have been found to be effective by the Department's Institute of Education Sciences and similar organizations.
  • College.gov, http://www.college.gov/, aims to motivate students with inspirational stories and information about planning, preparing and paying for college.
  • Teach.gov, http://www.teach.gov/, was launched in September 2010 to support a national campaign aimed to increase the number, quality, and diversity of people seeking to become teachers.

The Department has the following cooperative agreements:

  • Students.gov, http://www.students.gov/STUGOVWebApp/Public, is an official U.S. government Web site designed for college students and their families. Its mission is to provide students and their families with easy access to information and resources from the U.S. government – all the info they need, in one place, from all parts of the government.
  • Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE), http://free.ed.gov, makes it easier to find teaching and learning resources from the federal government. More than 1,500 federally supported teaching and learning resources are included from dozens of federal agencies. New sites are added regularly.
  • Opportunity.gov, http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/opportunity/questions.html, is a partnership with the Department of Labor to highlight education and training opportunities for unemployed Americans.
G. An inventory that describes your agency’s NARA-approved records schedule(s) or the link to the publicly-posted records schedule(s), and a brief explanation of your agency’s progress to implement NARA Bulletin 2006-02. For the brief explanation please report the number of systems for which a record schedule was submitted to NARA in FY 2010 and the number of systems still requiring records schedules.

The Department's Comprehensive Records Disposition Schedule is available at:
http://www.ed.gov/notices/records-management/index.html.

Of the 115 electronic information systems containing Federal records, all but two are covered by a NARA-approved or NARA-submitted records retention schedule. Schedules for the remaining systems will be completed in FY11.

H. Describe how your agency has implemented use of electronic signatures for appropriately secure electronic transactions with Government and established a framework to allow efficient interoperability.

The Department created the Identity Management Integrated Project Team, which is made up of stakeholders from principal offices with a common interest in identity management. The formation of this team ensures that all necessary stakeholders have input toward the creation, development, and implementation of identity management projects. The team also serves as a forum for the discussion and resolution of identity management issues across the enterprise.

The Department has developed a working relationship with the GSA-sponsored Identity, Credentials, and Access Management (ICAM) organization. ICAM is a sub-committee under the Federal CIO Council that addresses identity management issues and sets federal standards. In conjunction with ICAM efforts, the Department is currently addressing compatibility issues in transferring digitally signed documents between the Department and the Office of the Federal Register.

The Department also has representation on the ICAM Logical Access Working Group. This group is responsible for setting federal policy and addressing government-wide issues in the area of logical access. Participation with this group informs the Department about ongoing issues, their resolution, and the establishment of federal policies and procedures.

I. Describe how your agency has enhanced public participation in Government by electronic means for development and issuance of regulations. (Ex: regulation.gov)

The Department continues to seek greater and more useful public participation in our rulemaking activities through the use of transparent and interactive rulemaking procedures and new technologies. To facilitate the public’s involvement in our rulemaking process, the Department participates in www.regulations.gov Regulations.gov), an electronic, single, Government-wide access point that enables the public to submit comments on different types of Federal regulatory documents and to read and respond to comments submitted by other members of the public during the public comment period. Regulations.gov improves the public’s access to and participation in rulemaking by providing one central electronic location to search, retrieve, and read all Federal regulatory material. Through this site, the public can view a description of regulations currently open for comment, read the full text of these documents and any supporting regulatory documents, and submit comments to the appropriate federal agency. The Department accepts public comments on all of its proposed and interim final regulations, as well as a limited number of other regulatory documents requesting public comment, through Regulations.gov. The Department expects to expand its use of the system to include an increased number of regulatory documents in the future.

J. Describe how your agency has linked performance goals to key stakeholders, private sector, other agencies, and internal operations in delivering information and services through use of IT.

The enterprise architecture segment modernization process links the line of business performance goals, objectives and measures to the Department’s strategic plan goals and objectives. Segment modernization plans describe how each line of business will use IT investments to improve performance and provide services to stakeholders using IT. The segment modernization plans are reviewed, evaluated and prioritized for funding by the Department’s Planning and Investment Review Working Group based on the investment’s alignment to strategic goals, implementation risk, and ability to close performance gaps and eliminate redundancies within the IT portfolio.

K. Describe how your agency has reduced errors through use of electronic submissions.

The EDFacts initiative has significantly reduced the reporting burden for state and local data producers, and has streamlined data collection, analysis, and reporting functions at the federal, state, and local levels. EDFacts is a Department initiative to collect, analyze, report on, and promote the use of high-quality, kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) performance data. The Department uses this data for education planning, policy-making, and management and budget decision-making to improve outcomes for students. EDFacts centralizes data on state education agencies (SEAs), local education agencies and schools, and provides users with the ability to easily analyze and report on submitted data.

SEAs provide EDFacts data to the Department using an electronic system that facilitates the efficient and timely transmission of data. EDFacts incorporates business rules in the form of edits that provide a tiered set of errors and warnings to ensure the integrity of the data when it is submitted electronically to the agency. SEAs have been required to submit data through EDFacts since the 2008-2009 school year to meet federally mandated program data requirements and to support the Government Performance and Results Act, among other requirements. For example, the Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) includes data from SEAs that track progress in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The CSPR data include information on adequate yearly progress, state performance assessments, highly qualified teachers, and supplemental educational services options.

Over the past few years the presence of the EDFacts Data Warehouse (EDW) has enabled the Department to take several key steps that reduce or remove errors when the data is utilized for other initiatives. The recently launched ED Data Express publishes a significant amount of data from the CSPR. These data are stored in the EDW as they become finalized by program offices. When ED Data Express was launched, queries were executed directly to the warehouse to ensure that an electronic file was generated. This ensured that EDFacts was the only source for ED Data Express for any item that originated within CSPR. For Version 2 of ED Data Express, the Department is implementing a web service to connect ED Data Express’s public database servers and the EDFacts internal databases.

In addition, a web service is in place between the EDFacts collection systems and the servers that hold the raw data for the Common Core of Data (CCD) published by the National Center for Education Statistics. As states submit data to EDFacts, it is stored not only within the EDFacts system, but also within CCD systems. An update in EDFacts results in an automated update within the CCD systems. This linkage has provided the CCD team with quick access to the most recent data from SEAs.

L. Briefly describe your agency efforts to comply with Section 508.

The Department has made a commitment to support its obligation under Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, to ensure the accessibility of its programs and activities to individuals with disabilities. The Department’s Assistive Technology Program provides assistive technology solutions to disabled employees and also ensures that the agency’s electronic and information systems are accessible to employees and members of the public with disabilities.

The Department adheres to Requirements for Accessible Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) Design http://www.ed.gov/fund/contract/apply/clibrary/software.html), which address the accessibility needs that must be considered when designing and developing E&IT for the Department, and the guide Testing for Web Accessibility Compliance Under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/assisttesting.html), which provides concrete instructions for implementing the accessibility requirements.

M. Quantify the cost savings and cost avoidance achieved through implementation of IT programs.

The enterprise architecture segment modernization planning process has enabled line of business segment owners to increase the amount of development, modernization and enhancement funding across the IT portfolio from $31.1 million (4 percent of total IT spending) in FY 10 to $57.12 million (14 percent of total IT spending) in FY 11. The impact of these adjustments is that the Department has increased its spending for performance-improving IT innovations by $26.02 million. An example of the types of portfolio adjustments that the segment modernization planning process has enabled can be found in the IT infrastructure segment. By opting to reuse an existing document/records management solution to support the Department’s requirement for these services, the agency is able to avoid a projected $300,000 per year cost for licensing and hosting over the next seven years.


 
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Last Modified: 04/12/2013