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Information Quality by Galit Shmueli, Ron S. Kenett

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10Official statistics

10.1 Introduction

Official statistics are produced by a variety of organizations including central bureaus of statistics, regulatory healthcare agencies, educational systems, and national banks. Official statistics are designed to be used, and increasing their utility is one of the overarching concepts in official statistics. An issue that can lead to misconception is that many of the terms used in official statistics have specific meanings not identical to their everyday usage. Forbes and Brown (2012) state: “All staff producing statistics must understand that the conceptual frameworks underlying their work translate the real world into models that interpret reality and make it measurable for statistical purposes…. The first step in conceptual framework development is to define the issue or question(s) that statistical information is needed to inform. That is, to define the objectives for the framework, and then work through those to create its structure and definitions. An important element of conceptual thinking is understanding the relationship between the issues and questions to be informed and the definitions themselves.”

In an interview‐based study of 58 educators and policymakers, Hambleton (2002) found that the majority misinterpreted the official statistics reports on reading proficiency that compare results across school grades and across years. This finding was particularly distressing since policymakers rely on such reports for funding appropriations ...

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