What is a 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 - a Thomson Learning Company, U.S. News & World Report, and Wintergreen/Orchard House. 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, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers.
This goal is attained by the development of clear, standard data items as well as definitions to determine a specific cohort relevant to each item. Often, data items and definitions used by the U.S. Department of Education in its higher education surveys serve as a guide in the development of the CDS. Common Data Set items undergo broad review by the CDS Advisory Board as well as by data providers representing secondary schools and two- and four-year colleges.