Step 8 : Determine how you will enter or import data into the student record system.
Data must be put into the system. Paper systems accept data that are handwritten, typed, or printed out from computers. Entry into a computerized system can be direct, through keying or optical scanning, or through data importation from another source. SPEEDE/ExPRESS is an excellent example of electronic data interchange (EDI) as a method for moving records directly from one computer system into another.
The most efficient student record system requires data entry only one time. Instead of asking a parent to complete a paper form that requires a clerk to copy information onto a roster which is then keyed into a computer file, an ideal system might have the parent enter the data directly into the file via a computer terminal, or onto an optical scan form that can be read by the computer and placed in a file. Automated editing procedures could be used to ensure that valid information is entered, and can even allow for a clerk to edit or accept the information before a permanent entry appears on the official file.
As with other phases of data collection, entry, and use, it is important to ensure data confidentiality. Selecting those responsible for entering new or updated student data into the system must be done carefully, and they must be trained to maintain the confidentiality of the data. The previously mentioned document, Protecting the Privacy of Student Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies, contains recommendations for this area.
Whenever a child enters a school for the first time, a new record is created or is received from a school the student previously attended. Information is collected from parents the first time a child is enrolled, and that information is kept over time with additions and corrections made as the student progresses through school. Ideally when a student is transferred or promoted to a new school or transfers out of the district, the student record follows electronically so that the record can be entered directly into the receiving school's information system. This will help the receiving school to make appropriate placement decisions and ensure that data do not have to be collected again by the receiving district. Otherwise a new record must be created for the student.
When you implement a new student record system, you may identify data elements for which you do not currently have data. You will have to obtain this information from parents, the student or perhaps a staff member such as a teacher or counselor. Whenever you collect data, there are certain things you should consider in designing the form on which the data will be recorded. These guidelines are relevant even if the "form" is online.