Posts tagged: longitudinal data system
A new report released today shows Idaho has met all 10 goals in a national project to collect and monitor data on student achievement, but the state still needs to improve when it comes to effectively using the information being collected, reports AP reporter Jessie Bonner. Idaho was among the last states to launch a longitudinal data system to track student achievement; it started operating the system last school year amid strenuous complaints from school districts around the state about difficulties with the new system. The state Department of Education says it's gotten better; click below for Bonner's full report.
State schools Supt. Tom Luna said some concerns raised by local school officials about the new longitudinal data system are valid, but others aren't. He said school districts could choose whether to automate the process of entering data into the new system the first year. “To date, districts have chosen not to automate the process but to use this money for personnel and upload this data manually,” Luna told JFAC. “This is why many districts are reporting additional burdens on staff and resources. I continue to encourage districts to automate this process so they can minimize labor and maximize the benefit of this system.”
He said the state department needs to help districts more with the system, and acknowledged there have been many “frustrations.” But he said there also have been “success stories.” He said the department has heard the concerns, and, “We are taking steps to address them.”
Luna said he's launching a third-party audit of the data collection to verify its accuracy, and has asked school districts to volunteer for similar audits at their end; a half-dozen have now volunteered, he said.
Lakeland School District business manager Tom Taggart, head of the Idaho Association of School Business Officials, told JFAC that district workers feel the new longitudinal data system and its problems is an “emergency” situation. “We think the entire process should be slowed down,” he said. “We think that a big step forward would be the leadership of the state department standing up saying, 'This has not gone as well as we hoped, it's got serious problems, we could've done a better job at the start.' I think that acknowledgement gives us comfort we're going to fix it.”
He said, “I think when it's done and it's fully implemented and it works well, we will love it, and we're willing to help get there. But overwhelmingly, the people in the districts are frustrated and they're upset and they're looking for help.”
Idaho's longitudinal data system for its K-12 public schools has been roundly panned in surveys of the members of the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the Idaho Association of School Business Officials. The business managers survey found that only 1 percent rated the state Department of Education's overall job implementing the project, which is dubbed the “Idaho System for Education Excellence,” positively, while 30.3 percent were neutral and 68.7 percent rated it negatively. Asked if their school district “fully understands the reasons for, and uses of, ISEE,” 37.8 percent of the business managers said yes, while 62.2 percent said no. Among the school administrators, 91.2 percent said the ISEE has added “a great deal of additional work” for personnel in their school districts.
An overview and demonstration of the multimillion-dollar student data system, along with the survey results, is on the agenda for the Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee tomorrow, which is beginning its interim meeting and tour in Nampa. JFAC also will discuss school funding and the Idaho Education Network.