Vt. gets $5M for education data system
By LISA RATHKE
The Associated Press | June 21,2012
MONTPELIER — Vermont has received a nearly $5 million federal grant to better monitor the progress of its schools and students and address any weaknesses more quickly, officials announced Wednesday.
The money will be used for a central data collection system that is expected to be up and running in three years.
With it in place, the state should be able to track students, teachers and courses from kindergarten through 12th grade and monitor their progress. School administrators should be able to determine how many students have taken geometry by ninth grade, for example, or attended full-day kindergarten.
Eventually, the state wants to expand the data system to include preschool through entrance into the workforce.
“The $4.95 million will allow the state to have a centralized location for all student data, school data, around students’ progress, students’ attainments and where they go beyond high school,” state Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca said.
He said education officials know that for children to get a good start in school, early education is essential. “But right now we’re not able to easily look at how many of our students who are succeeding in school or struggling in school went to ... preschool,” he said. “How many of those that went to preschool went to high-quality preschools.”
With the new system, schools and districts should be able to send data directly to the state where it will be immediately available, more complete and accurate, officials said. The system should mean less work for schools.
“If we don’t have a clean, good, predictable data collection system we can’t measure outcomes, we can’t measure effectively our progress, how we’re doing, how we’re not doing so well and where we can make improvements in Vermont’s education system,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said.
The state plans to also use the grant money to train school employees on how to use the data for decision-making and to automate state education reporting to the federal government.
Vermont asked the U.S. Department of Education for more money for a new data system for every school two years ago but was rejected.