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The Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) was designed to collect, store, and disseminate information about New York State's elementary and secondary schools. The data in BEDS has been collected annually since 1967 and provides information on public and private schools, and school districts. In 1970, BEDS also began to collect data from the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
BEDS supports two master files, the Institutional Master File (IMF) and the Personnel Master File (PMF). The PMF contains demographic information on public school and BOCES professional staff in teaching and non-teaching assignments. It also identifies the staff member's professional background, specific assignments, and student registration figures per assignment. The PMF also identifies the type of student taught by the professional (below average, average, honors, etc.). The IMF contains data on each school district, public and private school, and BOCES in New York State. Each record provides information on enrollment statistics, the number and type of professional and paraprofessional staff and limited information on facilities such as the number and type of classrooms and buildings. The School and BOCES Data Records identify special educational programs available at each institution. Public and private school facilities, educational resources, and the number and type of staff. This Guide will provide users with the technical information, documentation, and other descriptive information necessary to use the IMF.
In 1965, the State Education Department's (SED) Bureau of Statistical Services was charged with developing an information system on public schools that would reduce the data collection burden on schools, provide SED program units with informational support, and provide centralized research data on schools in New York State. During the early 1960s, data collection by SED was decentralized. The Bureau of Statistical Services, established in 1904, collected and published basic statistics on the number of teachers and students in New York's public schools and the amount of funds dedicated to public education. Also during the 1960s, various SED units collected detailed information on schools, teachers, and students to support individual programs and functions. There was no centralized policy for data collection and there was no central repository for such information. Therefore, SED was unable to efficiently respond to requests for information from school administrators, the State Legislature, educational researchers, and others.
The design and implementation of the BEDS began in 1965 and was completed in 1967. During that same year, the Information Center on Education was formed from the Bureau of Statistical Services to administer the system. ICE designs and operates data systems in all areas of education and coordinates all external data collection by SED. It is composed of two units, the Bureau of Statistical Services and the Bureau of Educational Data Systems.
ICE transferred the 1967-1981 IMF files to the State Archives in 1991. The data files for subsequent years are scheduled to be transferred to the Archives ten years after their date of creation.