Statewide Longitudinal Data System
The Student Teacher Accountability Reporting System (SD-STARS) is a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) that drives the educational initiatives to improve instruction and student performance. The goal for SD-STARS is to securely consolidate and link all educational data that currently resides within the SD DOE. In other words, it pulls data that is already available from different sources (ex: Infinite Campus, assessments), places the data into a centralized system, and links data together. This increases data availability for reporting and analysis that is used by teachers, schools, districts, and the DOE as well as external stakeholders, such as policy makers and researchers. SD-STARS also allows for deeper and richer performance analysis by bringing student, teacher, principal, and financial data together.
Data Sources and Reports
The purpose of SD STARS is to aid, measure, inform. Educators will have the ability to access and use high quality data to aid in informing instruction and decision-making. To this end, data will be displayed in an easily understood format and educators will be trained so they are able to identify trends and conduct thorough analyses. Through SD-STARS, students outcomes will be measured so educators can identify at-risk students, examine achievement gaps, evaluate programs, recognize strengths, and address areas for improvement. Ultimately, stakeholders will develop a more holistic view of our education system and use that picture to inform systemic change.
SD-STARS has 4 key components:
- Data Warehouse Repository that stores student, teacher and school data from various sources over many years
- Portal Secure place where users can access and interact with data from the warehouse
- Reports Tools that allow users to look at and analyze key data
- Training Opportunities to learn about how to use SD-STARS for informing practice/decisions
Security to protect the privacy of individuals data is a high priority. In addition to other security measures, SD-STARS limits what a person will be allowed to see. For example, a teacher only views data for the children he teaches, and a principal sees children in her school. This maintains compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
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Since 2015, SD-STARS has been approved by the South Dakota State University's Institutional Review Board (IRB). IRBs are usually located at universities and research centers. They help minimize risks associated with human subject research, thereby protecting the people whose data are used. Even though SD-STARS is not a research project, the South Dakota Department of Education seeks IRB approval to ensure that we are doing what is necessary to protect the data in SD-STARS.
The SD-STARS team provides training opportunities throughout the state for those who wish to learn more about the system. These trainings can help educators use student data in their schools and districts to aid, measure, and inform. Regional trainings for STARS Account Managers (SAMs) show how to create, manage, and disable accounts in their districts.
Data Use Courses
Every summer, the SD-STARS team offers courses to educators interested in learning more about data use in the classroom, school and district. The fundamental and the advanced courses both offer graduate credits.
Webinars and Other Trainings
The SD-STARS team provides online trainings for STARS Account Managers (SAMs), Data STARS and other key district staff members who use SD-STARS.
The following materials were offered at recent SD-STARS presentations. These resources will remain available until the indicated date.
STARS Account Managers (SAMs) Districts identify at least one individual who will be responsible for managing accounts and security within SD-STARS. This individual would also be the first point of contact when district staff members have questions or issues with SD-STARS. SAMs are identified in the School Directory.
STARS Account Managers FAQ - This document is intended for STARS Account Managers (SAMs) to address common questions about SD-STARS.
A Power User user who has elevated permissions, receives training in STARS Analytics, and can create and publish district-created reports for users in their district. To become a Power User, district administrator would complete and submit the permission form below. Then the individual would attend the Power User training, see above for available trining opportunities.
STARS Certified Trainers (SCTs) are located throughout the state and are ready and willing to answer your questions. They are available to conduct SD-STARS trainings for your school or district to help educators make the most out of SD-STARS. SCTs have been trained by SDDOE staff on the SD-STARS system and are kept up-to-date on system developments and new reports. Districts can contact the trainer directly to request training at a cost to the district.
The STARS Advisory Group (SAG) functions much like other district-involved groups at the SDDOE. The group gives districts a voice in discussions on possible changes to and the future of SD-STARS. This group positively impacts SD-STARS and works to improve the partnership and communication among the SDDOE s SD-STARS team, other department staff and districts. Areas of discussion include new data sources, new reports, enhancements to current reports, changes to the SD-STARS portal and district training and support. For more information, please contact the SD-STARS team at STARSHelp@state.sd.us.
|Nicole Hansen||Sioux Falls||Nicole.Hansen@k12.sd.us|
|Angela Reder||Belle Fourche||Angela.Reder@k12.sd.us|
What is a Statewide Longitudinal Data System?
A SLDS is a data system that collects and maintains the history of data for a student. The power of the SLDS 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 SLDS will put those snapshots into a video as the student goes from grade to grade. If you put multiple student 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 the benefits a SLDS will provide. At least 47 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have created or are taken steps towards creating their own SLDS.
What is SD-STARS used for?
In short, SD-STARS houses data and presents data in a usable format, so that districts, schools, teachers, and SDDOE can make informed decisions. SD-STARS is used by district and school leaders and educators to inform decisions about their educational programs. SD-STARS houses important data related to students (e.g., attendance, test scores), teachers (e.g., certification, teaching assignments), and schools (e.g., school calendar, school directory). With this information provided in a single location and with multiple years of data available, educators can see patterns taking shape and make adjustments designed to strengthen the educational experience for students. The data housed in SD-STARS is used at the state level for holding schools accountable and to meet state and federal reporting requirements.
SD-STARS follows all state and federal laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Accessing and/or using the data for purposes other than those permitted in federal or state laws is strictly prohibited. This is true for all parties. Any information that comes from SD-STARS for public consumption will be aggregated and meet minimum sample size to protect confidentiality. SD-STARS is not part of any federal database nor will any information contained within the system be sold.
Is SD-STARS a punitive tool?
No. Sometimes using data in education is perceived as a hammer. On the contrary, the primary asset of SD-STARS is its ability to help its users determine what works and what areas need improvement. It can help teachers tailor instruction, help schools recognize warning signs to prevent dropouts, and help streamline reporting needs of the district. Furthermore, SD-STARS provides a more complete and detailed view of student learning, which can provide a fairer process when used for evaluations of staff or schools. In short, SD-STARS is a flashlight that sheds light on the nuts and bolts of education to aid teachers and administrators in improving educational outcomes.