The national focus on student outcomes has placed an additional burden on our nation's schools, school districts, and state education agencies, for they must monitor the achievement of individual students, as well as groups of students, and show that all students are meeting high standards for learning. An education organization's ability to meet this challenge is affected by the organization's access to complete, accurate, and timely information about its students. This booklet has been developed to help education organizations plan and implement efficient systems for maintaining and using individual student records so that effective decisions can be made for the benefit of the students.
Many schools, school districts, and state education agencies already collect and use data effectively. However, the proliferation of new reporting requirements and dramatic changes in technology have had a profound effect on the need for student data and the education community's ability to manage student records. Purchase of more powerful computer hardware and software and the reconfiguration of information systems have become essential components in efforts to meet the needs of all students.
There is probably no single best information system solution that can meet the needs of all 90,000+ public schools, 16,000+ school districts, 27,000 private schools, and 57 education agencies in states and outlying areas. However, there are certain steps that could help all education organizations to determine the best solution for their particular situations. This booklet can lead education organization decision-makers through the process of making the best and most cost-effective decisions about information management systems devoted to individual student records.