The Common Data Set (CDS) initiative began in 1995 to address issues about inconsistencies in data provided by institutions to guidebooks and financial rating agencies. The initiative have evolved into a collaborative effort between publishers (primarily The College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report) and the educational community to improve the quality and consistency of information reported by college and university officials and to reduce the burden of compiling such information which is used in guidebooks, publications, and other media.
The goal of the CDS is to develop standard and precise questions along with data definitions that will incorporated into participating publishers' existing surveys, which will continue to be the primary data collections instruments. The established common definitions should enable institutions to depict themselves consistently, correctly, and without bias to the public.
For more information on the Common Data Set, click the link. This will take you out of the University of Central Oklahoma website.