South Dakota receives grant to upgrade student data management

South Dakota has been awarded one of 24 state-level grants from the Institute of Education Sciences.

The three-year, $3 million grant will support development and implementation of a Statewide Longitudinal Data System (LDS) for K-12 schools in South Dakota.

"Longitudinal data systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze and use education data," said South Dakota's Secretary of Education Dr. Melody Schopp. "The LDS should help the state's districts, schools, educators and other stakeholders make data-informed decisions to improve student learning and outcomes."

The grants are authorized by the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002. The grantees were selected in a competition, with award decisions based on the merits of the applicants' proposals and available program funding. An independent peer review panel evaluated each proposal on need for the project, project goals and outcomes, activities and timeline, management and governance, and personnel and financial resources.

Currently, 10 South Dakota school districts have been selected to participate in a pilot project that will begin this summer. The pilot is expected to be completed by early 2013, at which point the data management system will be rolled out to other districts.

"The system was designed with the idea that educators can use data to drive instruction," Schopp said. "It is our hope that by using the system, teachers and administrators can diagnose learning issues faster and pinpoint which particular concepts students are struggling with within a singular content area."

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