US Non-profit organizations are legal entities that are organized and operated for a collective, public, or social benefit. Many different types of organizations may operate as non-profits, including charities, business associations, churches, social service providers of various sorts, consumer cooperatives, private schools, and even some political organizations. Non-profit entities are tax-exempt in the US, but still must file an “informational” tax return with the Internal Revenue Service each year. As a matter of federal law, these informational returns are public records and freely available to anyone who wants to see them.
A norm-referenced test is one whose score gives an estimate of where a person stands on the trait or skill being tested, relative to some representative group. In education, the skills being tested might range over things like reading comprehension, vocabulary, basic arithmetic, algebra, and more. The representative group may also be referred to as the “normative sample” or “norm group”. For an educational test, the normative sample is nothing more than a group of children, aggregated by age, who have taken the test.
This article is a primer on how to tabulate, organize, and document data for people who don’t have much experience with it.1 I will introduce you to some basic concepts and terms that are common to data work and data organization. Any examples will have an educational tint, but that’s just because I often work with educators. The framework sketched here will apply to most other kinds of data. I’ll assume spreadsheet software is the tool you will likely use for entering and organizing the data, because spreadsheets are widely available and familiar to most people.