By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor
Educators and administrators are collecting an enormous amount of data about the progress of their students and schools. Now that this information has been collected, how can it be used to improve education?
What administrators and teachers need is a practical system that organizes school and student data in a way that is easily understood and readily available during the school day, according to a collaboration by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and Gartner Inc.
School districts are looking to purchase student information systems and learning management systems to help them with this task.
Watch CoSN CEO Keith Krueger’s interview with Comcast Newsmakers (aired on CNN):
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According to the collaborative, sorting through the available products in today’s market to find the appropriate one for a particular district can be a daunting task, which is why the project has developed a collection of tools to help schools and districts nationwide use student data. This collection is called “Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action.”
“Teachers, in today’s data-driven culture, are overwhelmed by the student data available to them,” said AASA Executive Director and eSchool News contributor Dan Domenech. “They know that the data can help them be more effective, but they need help in identifying which information is the most important. Closing the Gap is an important link in this process.”
The goal of the project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to offer school districts:
- Recommendations for the selection and implementation of student information systems and learning management systems;
- Best practices for implementation of these solutions in schools and classrooms; and
- Suggestions for moving schools to a more data-rich culture.
Closing the Gap also includes nine templates for school districts’ use, each providing guidance on a different phase of the selection and implementation process.
The templates include a checklist of critical success factors, a suggested timeline, a delineation of project roles and responsibilities for school personnel, a cost planning guide, and a guide for staff professional development. Click here for the templates.
“Several critical success factors need to be addressed when planning and implementing student information systems and learning management systems,” said Irma Fabular, Gartner Consulting, vice president and senior managing partner for Gartner Inc.’s North American education consulting industry. “Gartner developed templates that could be leveraged as a starting point by school districts in helping to ensure successful implementation efforts.”
“There are enormous opportunities associated with leveraging SIS and LMS systems to advance student-centered learning,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “For education technology leaders to have templates at their fingertips that provide guidance on the selection and implementation process is key for the most effective deployment and use of these technologies.”
The SIS/LMS Selection and Implementation templates and other resources available to the K-12 educational community can be found under the Resources tab of the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action website at http://turningdataintoaction.org/resources. All Closing the Gap project reports and resources are free to the K-12 educational community.