Common Data Set
The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education. This goal is attained by the development of clear, standard data items and definitions in order to determine a specific cohort relevant to each item. Data items and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its higher education surveys often serve as a guide in the continued development of the CDS (from CommonDataSet.org).
Use these data carefully when completing other surveys. If the item has a CDS letter and number code associated with it, you can be sure the number in the Common Data Set is the correct numeric value to use. If the question does not have an associated CDS code, determine carefully whether the CDS value is accurate for use for your survey item. To illustrate, “degrees conferred” for the CDS requires the number of graduates from July 1 through June 30 annually, while other federally required reports ask for total graduates of May, August, and December of a given year. The data may be similar but different enough to affect desired accuracy. When in doubt, seek advice from the Institutional Research and Assessment Office or the Academic Records Office.