An effective SRMS embodies clear and well-defined procedures, criteria, norms, mechanisms and practices to ensure the data and information recorded are complete, relevant, accurate and reliable. Furthermore, it incorporates functions to enable easy search, retrieval, analysis and use of the data and information to support sound management of the school as well as for reporting to higher lev- els of the education administration and to local stakeholders (see also Section 6 of Module A2).
The following principles are essential for maintaining a high standard of data quality in school records:
- all relevant school staff and teachers adhere to the planned SRMS schedule and meth- ods in systematically creating, storing and updating the school records for which they are responsible.
– data and information in school records must be as complete as possible. if there are data omissions or partial data, a footnote should be added with clear explanations.
– data quality norms and practices are clearly defined, understood and followed while gathering and entering data into the school record.
– all the data are recorded using the same definition and measurement for all schools and over time.
The design of the school record forms and summaries must, therefore, be clear, unambiguous and easy to create, fill in and update. All the terms and concepts must be clearly defined and explained in the instructions about school records management (see Sections 3 to 5 above). Thorough training and practical supervision, plus technical guidance and support by the school manager and district education officer, can decisively help to improve the quality of data in the school records.
The school manager has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that all school records are regularly created, completed, updated, stored and used. The school manager should frequently check the records to verify that all records have been submitted on time, are complete and up-to-date and to ensure that the staff members are performing their record-keeping duties in a correct and timely manner.
The school manager and other administrative staff must use the school records frequently. While using these records they can also verify if the data are up-to-date, complete and correct. if the assignment of SRMS responsibilities and schedule is clear, any errors in the school records can be referred back to the responsible person so they can explain and correct the errors, and complete the records.
District and local education officers and school inspectors can monitor the quality of school records during their school visits. They can verify that the records are well managed and that data quality assurance measures have been correctly applied.
Systematic cross-checking of data summaries and tally sheets against the original individual record forms, and comparisons of the resulting information and indicators, can help to iden- tify errors or inconsistencies in data quality. during analysis, interpretation and use of the data and information, additional data problems can be found that require the records be re-checked and corrected. Many of the data quality control methods suggested in Section 6 of Module A2 can also be applied to school records.
Gather instructions used in school records management in your school, district, province or country. Examine their contents to see if they include information about data quality assurance principles and practices. Ask relevant school staff about their experiences in actual school records data quality assurance, and then answer the following questions:
For school managers and staff:
- From your own experience and those of your staff, what kind of data quality problems and issues occurred in records management at your school? how did they happen?
- What kinds of measures have been taken to ensure data quality in the SRMS? Please describe how effective each of these measures have been, and what lessons you have learnt.
- What would you do to strengthen data quality assurance in records management at your school?
For district and local education officers and school inspectors:
- To your knowledge, what kind of data quality problems and issues have occurred in the SRMS of schools in your area? how did these problems occur?
- What measures have been taken to minimize these problems and ensure a high standard of data quality is maintained in the SRMS?
- What can be done to strengthen data quality assurance measures in the SRMS of the schools in your area?
For central and provincial education administrators:
- What kind of data quality problems and issues have you noticed in the school reports and data provided during annual school censuses?
- What can be done to strengthen data quality assurance measures in the SRMS used by schools in your country or province?