State moving forward with new longitudinal data system
South Dakota was awarded one of 24 state-level grants from the Institute of Education Sciences over the summer. The three-year, $3 million grant will support ongoing development and implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system for the state’s K-12 schools.
Called the Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System, or SD-STARS, the system has been designed with the goal that teachers and administrators will be able to diagnose learning issues faster and pinpoint which particular concepts students are struggling with within a singular content area. All student data will be able to be tracked within the system.
Ten South Dakota school districts have been selected to participate in a pilot project. The pilot is expected to be completed by early 2013, at which point the data management system will be rolled out to other districts.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new system.
What is a longitudinal data system?
It’s a data system that collects and maintains the history of data for a student. The power of the LDS comes especially from its ability to link student data at multiple levels (classroom, school, district, state) and over multiple years. Think about photography – current systems provide just a snapshot of the student, but the LDS will put those snapshots into a video as he/she goes from grade to grade. If you put students’ videos together into a montage, then you could spot trends in students with different types of experiences.
South Dakota is not the only state to recognize that an LDS will provide powerful tools to inform instruction, guide decisions, and assess the quality of education. At least 42 states and the District of Columbia have created or are taken steps toward creating their own LDS.
What are the data sources used by the SD-STARS?
SD-STARS will bring together historical and current data into one cohesive, consistent, and consolidated environment for analysis and reporting. SD-STARS will be extracting data from different sources already available. These sources include, but are not limited to:
• Infinite Campus
• MIS2000 (Migrant)
• Carl D. Perkins data (CTE)
• Annual Financial Reports
• Personnel Record Form (PRF)
• Teacher Certification
• Assessments (e.g., DSTEP, STEP-A, Access, etc.) • Directory
What kind of questions could be answered using data in SD-STARS?
All kinds! These questions can be asked at multiple levels including: individual students; groups of students; teachers; schools; districts; and programs, policies, and strategies. Below are just some of the questions that, with time and accurate data, could be answered by using SD-STARS:
• How did a student perform in this subject in earlier grades? Was there a time when her performance took a turn for the worse?
• Which students are at risk of dropping out in the future?
• How many students who were proficient on the 8th grade math exam were also proficient on the 11th grade math exam? Of those, how many took Algebra 1 freshman year?
What about security?
Security to protect the privacy of individuals within districts is a high priority during the development and implementation of SD-STARS. In addition to other security measures, SD-STARS will also limit the data a person will be allowed to see. For example, a teacher will only be able to view data for the children he/she teaches—nothing else. A principal would be able to see children in his/her school—nothing else. This maintains FERPA compliance.
When will SD-STARS be available to me?
Once the pilot phase is complete, SD-STARS will be rolled out to other districts, starting in the west and moving to the east. SD-DOE is expecting this to be in March 2013.