In this lesson, you will learn about how schools use student information systems to store various types of student data. The way that districts use this data to inform their decisions will also be discussed.
Technology often gets a bad rap. Many people claim that technology is keeping us from having meaningful conversations with one another.
If you’ve ever been in a restaurant and watched two people with a phone in one hand and a fork in the other, barely speaking to each other, you may agree. However, even technology’s biggest naysayers have to admit that technology makes our lives so much easier, especially as teachers. Can you imagine calculating grades for every student manually?! Keep reading to learn how schools use technology (specifically student information systems) to organize and report student data.
Student Information Systems (SIS)
Many schools have been using some form of student management systems for at least a decade. Student information systems (SIS) are web-based databases that schools use to store data about their students. A SIS will contain information such as grades, attendance, health issues, testing data, IEPs, and more. Students, parents, and teachers all have access to the SIS. Student Information Systems have really changed the game for education. It used to be that students and parents would receive a progress report mid-marking period and a report card at the end of the marking period.
That means students and parents only had access to grades eight times a year. With a SIS, students and parents can check grades at any time, any day, however many times they want.
Using the Data
Storing student data is only one aspect of student information systems. Districts can analyze the data they collect in order to identify trends and make decisions.
Schools are able to sort their data into subgroups. They can sort by subgroups such as gender, ethnic background or special education students.The data can be analyzed in order to identify subgroups that are consistently performing below average. For example, a district may analyze the data they have, and see that students with IEPs consistently underperform in math. Using this data, the school can plan for math interventions for students with IEPs, allocate more of their budget for remediating those students, or take whatever other steps the district finds necessary.Schools can also analyze the attendance data available to them. In doing so, they may find that students who have poor attendance have some factors in common.
For example, a school may find in their data that students who live in a specific part of the district are absent from school more often than students who live in other areas. They then can begin to do determine the cause of attendance issues and decide how to remediate them.Another data set schools can analyze relates to discipline. For example, it may come to the school’s attention that students belonging to certain ethnic groups are disciplined more often or more severely than other groups.
The district can use this critical information to determine the steps needed in order to be fair to all students. There are probably a hundred more examples that could be given as to how schools use the data that they store in their SIS.
Technology advancements have been very beneficial to schools. Student information systems (SIS) are databases that are housed online. Several different types of data (such as attendance and grades) can be stored in the SIS.
Student information systems allow students, parents, and teachers to have access to students’ grades at any time and in any place that has internet access. Districts can use the data in order to make decisions. Districts can analyze their data by subgroup to determine specific groups of students who may need intervention. Having the ability to separate the data by subset helps districts provide an equitable education to all students regardless of aspects such as gender or ethnic background.