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State gets recognition for data-keeping system

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Officials with the Georgia Department of Education announced recently that the state has received high marks for its use of technology in measuring student achievement over time.

Georgia was one of only 11 states to meet the 10 Essential Elements of developing and using longitudinal data systems to improve student achievement, according to a report from the Data Quality Campaign, a national consortium of education organizations.

A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report, "Leaders and Laggards," also showed Georgia ahead of other states in the use of data to impact classroom instruction, receiving "A's" for its quality data system.

The Chamber's report evaluated how the state's public reporting of college remediation data is factored into the accountability system.

"These two reports verify that Georgia is on the right track to getting a longitudinal data system that will help our educators across the state make sound policy decisions for the benefit of the students," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

"Accurate data that identifies a problem is critical to tackling an issue head on," Cox continued. "Without good data, we would just be engaged in random acts of school improvement."

The Data Quality Campaign's annual survey revealed that the state made gains in the way it records and evaluates data, such as students' standardized test scores, academic transcripts, and enrollment.

"Our existing data collection and reporting infrastructure is not perfect yet, but we are on our way," Cox said. "As businesses have effectively used data to boost profits, educators are using data to boost student achievement."

The state's current system of data collection is known as the Longitudinal Data System, or LDS, said Matt Cardoza, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education.

"The point of the LDS is for the state, districts and schools to be able to track students from Pre-K to college," Cardoza said. "That will help them see academic progress of students and see where there may be weaknesses."

He said Georgia was one of only three states to receive the 5-year Longitudinal Data System (LDS) federal grant worth $8.9 million last April. Twenty-four other states were awarded grants of lesser amounts.

"We have been working on a Student Information System for several years, and we have lots of quality data from that," Cardoza said. "But the LDS will tie K-12 data to Pre-K and technical college and the Board of Regents [data]."