A Student Tracking System Awaits the Governor's Signature
ISSUE 52 | SEPTEMBER 14, 2002
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With the passage of SB 1453, all that's needed to open the fast path to a student information system is the Governor's signature. Then California will have what it takes to make real sense out of mountains of raw test score data over time.
This tracking system is good news on many fronts. While not the full-blown California Student Information System (CSIS), it is the seed from which the full tree may grow, and which can expand to include student records (enrollment, attendance, etc.) and perhaps more. Much good will follow.
First, teachers will have the ability at last to compare a students test scores this year to his scores in prior years. While the statistical significance of this comparison is limited, it will make big leaps and lags easier to identify. When a student moves from one school to another, the student's test score trends wont be such an unknown factor. (Where is that cume folder?) Furthermore, researchers claims of historical lags whenever students start in a new school will be put to the test.
Second, adequate yearly progress will become definable in a more fair and precise way. Finally, we'll have the ability to see how far each school advanced each of its students each year. Each student's individual growth will be the baseline from which progress can be measured. This is a quantum leap beyond the crude methods of progress we currently use in California, which compare a school-full of students test scores this year with last year's students' scores -- even if one out of three of those students are new.
Third, graduation and dropout rates can be pinned down at last. While it will require extending the test-based student identifier system to enrollment records, this logical step shouldn't take long. Since the new federal law known as No Child Left Behind requires this, we protect our Title I funds when we implement this tracking system and issue real graduation and dropout rates. No small matter.
To send Gov. Davis your letter urging him to sign this bill, go to Edvoices advocacy website.
The Owl will keep his watchful eye on this legislation as it starts to change the data collection and reporting practices in the field.
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