Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau is working to create a longitudinal data system with long-lasting benefits for public education in the state of Montana.
A contract with Vexcel, a subsidiary of Microsoft, will provide schools, policymakers, parents and the public with unprecedented access to data and reports regarding Montana’s public education system while protecting the educational privacy rights of students and families. The system will allow the Office of Public Instruction to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze and use education data, including individual student records.
Superintendent Juneau said, “I believe strongly in making data-driven decisions. The new system will make data readily-available to assist educators and policymakers in reaching data-driven decisions to improve student learning as well as facilitate our work on the state level to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps.”
The Office of Public Instruction received a four-year Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grant from the U.S. Department of Education for $5.7 million. Data is being migrated to the data warehouse from 17 different major databases currently in use. This new data warehouse will allow data to be combined and searched in ways that are currently labor intensive and inaccessible to the public.
The data warehouse will ease state and federal reporting and allow more individualized instruction and support services for students by teachers and administrators.
“This is exciting news for parents and educators,” continued Juneau. “Data allows us to focus on accountability, effectiveness and achievement. Our goal with the new system is to create user-friendly tools that enhance our ability to provide a quality public education.”
SB 329, passed during the 2011 Legislative Session, created new requirements for school districts to display data on publicly-available websites. The Office of Public Instruction will use the new data warehouse to generate the district educational profiles containing school district contact information and links to district websites, state criterion-referenced testing results, program and course offerings, student enrollment and demographics by grade level and graduation rates.
The work on the data warehouse will be completed and ready for use by October 2012. The capabilities of Montana’s new system will be similar to the system in Nebraska, which can be found here: drs.education.ne.gov/Pages/default.aspx