This email would be appropriate for an educator leader to send a data system/report provider to advocate for the Over-the-Counter Data Supplemental Documentation Standards.


Dear Data System/Report Provider,


I noticed our district’s data system does not adhere to the Over-the-Counter Data Supplemental Documentation Standards that stipulate research-based ways to accompany education data reports with effective reference sheets and reference guides. Adherence to these Supplemental Documentation standards is necessary to best support educators’ easy use and thorough understanding of reports’ data. Consider:


  • Only 48% of teachers’ inferences based on given data are accurate at districts with strong data cultures (U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, 2009), with other educators' analyses being less accurate.
  • Educators’ data analyses are 205% more accurate when a reference sheet accompanies a data report and 300% more accurate when respondents specifically indicate having used the reference sheet (Rankin, 2013).
  • Educators’ data analyses are 273% more accurate when a reference guide accompanies a data report and 436% more accurate (more than quadrupled!) when respondents specifically indicate having used the reference guide (Rankin, 2013).
  • When they accompany data reports, educators use reference sheets 50% of the time and use reference guides 52% of the time (Rankin, 2013).


Please attune our data system/reports to adhere to the research-based Over-the-Counter Data Supplemental Documentation Standards. These resources can help you:


  • Over-the-Counter Data Standards are available at (the Supplemental Documentation standards are on pages 3-4, followed by a paper with related research).
  • Free templates (for reference sheets and reference guides) that are aligned to Over-the-Counter Data Standards and the supplemental documentation shown to be effective in the Rankin study are also available at
  • Read the book How to Make Data Easy: A Guide for Edtech Providers to Improve Data Tools & Support so Data Becomes Easy to Use, by Dr. Jenny Grant Rankin. This guide explains how to implement each reporting standard within a data system/report (offering specific examples, illustrations, etc.).


Thank you very much for your time and assistance. Adhering to these standards will offer tremendous help to educators and students.


- Me


Rankin, J. G. (2013). Over-the-counter data’s impact on educators’ data analysis accuracy. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 3575082. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development (2009). Implementing data-informed decision making in schools: Teacher access, supports and use. United States Department of Education (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED504191)