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Georgia schools awarded grant for data system

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Georgia will receive nearly $9 million in federal grant funding to improve its statewide educational data-collection system, state education officials said.

The state was one of 27 to receive the 2009 Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant, given by the Institute of Educational Sciences, a division of the U.S. Department of Education.

"This grant will allow the state, our schools and school systems to use data more efficiently and effectively to guide policy and instruction," said Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "We have already made tremendous progress in this area, but this grant will allow us to go to the next level."

The Statewide Longitudinal Data System Grant program was created to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data, including individual student records, state school officials said in a statement.

Georgia's grant - $8.94 million to be allocated over the next four years - will be used to help improve data exchanges between the state and local systems.

The grant will also help pay for improvements in data collection and maintenance in pre-kindergarten and higher education programs in the state, school officials said.

School officials said the improved data systems should help Georgia's 182 local school systems, as well as individual schools and teachers, in making data-driven decisions to improve student learning and facilitate research that will increase student achievement and close achievement gaps.

Georgia's Department of Education has an existing collection of student data that is manually uploaded. Those "flat files," however, will be replaced by an Enterprise Data Hub - a data-collection system that will be known as Chronicle - to facilitate more efficient and reliable connections with local school systems and other education agencies.

The state's proposed data clearinghouse system also allows for potential interstate data exchange. School officials said the system would improve the continuity of services for transfer students, interstate auditing, and statistical record-keeping.

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On the net:

Georgia Department of Education: www.doe.k12.ga.us