Timely transfer of student records is important to provide continuity in the provision of instructional and support services for migrant students (U.S. Department of Education 1999). Upon enrollment, the student's academic history-participation in special programs, special interests, skill levels, and transcripts-may be used to identify specific educational needs. Similarly, health data- physical examination results, inoculations, and dental screening and treatment-might be useful to identify critical problems that could affect the child's learning capabilities. An important concern about the availability of health data is that migrant students may not be able to enroll without immunization records. Finally, since MEP summer-term projects serve as a link between regular school terms, it is important that they receive and forward student records in a timely manner. It is also important for projects to update the records based on students' participation in project activities.
To provide a description of the role of summerterm projects in maintaining and transmitting migrant student records in 1998, this chapter reports on the availability of student records, including the proportion of students for whom records are available and the types of student information available to projects. It also provides a description of what projects did with the records obtained; that is, whether student records were created or updated, and the types of information included. Finally, the chapter reports on how student records were transmitted, including how records were received by MEP summer-term projects, and how they were forwarded at the end of the project. As with previous sections, there is a separate discussion of the availability and transmission of migrant students' records in California and Texas.
Access to relevant data to construct the student's educational and health profiles allows immediate attention toward ongoing needs and minimizes duplication of services. It also reduces the risk of incorrect initial placement of students, and the administration of unnecessary student assessments. Therefore, the availability of student records is a useful indicator of the extent to which MEP projects are provided with essential data that can be used to structure programs according to students' needs.
To explore the extent to which MEP summer-term projects in 1998 had immediate access to student records, the survey asked about the proportion of students for whom academic records, student portfolios, or other indicators of school performance were available. Records were available at the start of the project for 74 percent of students (Figure 9 and Table B-10). These records were most likely already on file (see Table 10) because the majority of students served by the projects were enrolled in the school district for at least part of the 1997-1998 school year (see Figure 1). For students without available records at the start of the project, records for 10 percent were obtained within the first week of attendance, and records for an additional 4 percent of students were received after the first week. However, for 12 percent of students enrolled in 1998 MEP summer-term projects, various academic records were never obtained.
Essential records contain priority student information (e.g., health records and achievement test scores) needed to enroll and place students and to alert the new school or project about any critical issues (e.g., students' health problems). Therefore, to provide a description of the extent to which MEP summer-term projects were provided with essential student records in 1998, the survey asked about the number of students for whom the following types of information were available on records obtained, or that were already available:
A large majority of MEP summer-term projects in 1998 indicated that for all or most of their students, records were available with students' last address (84 percent) and information on program eligibility (86 percent; Table 9). In contrast, few projects (4 to 7 percent) reported that these background data were not available on records for any of their students. Similarly, almost all MEP projects (90 percent) reported that information on last grade completed was available for all or most of their students, and 4 percent indicated that the information was not available for any student.
About half of the MEP summer-term projects reported that records containing achievement test scores were available for all or most of their students, and 41 percent of the projects indicated that transcript records were available for all or most of their students (Table 9). In contrast, 15 percent of MEP projects indicated the available student records did not have achievement test scores for any student, and 24 percent did not have transcripts for any student. These data are generally not required for elementary-age students. Reporting on the availability of other types of student data, about two-thirds of MEP projects indicated that health data and information on students' limited English proficiency were available on records for all or most of their students. However, 15 percent of the projects did not have health data on records for any student. The survey also asked about the proportion of students enrolled for whom MEP summer-term projects have or will have information regarding where students would be attending school in the fall. On average, projects estimated that they had or expected to have this information for 89 percent of students (Table B-11).
For records to be useful, they should be kept current. Therefore, MEP summer-term projects are required to update the records available for new and current students and to create new records for students without records. When asked whether they created or updated student records based on the 1998 summer-term activities or instruction, most MEP summer-term projects indicated they did (88 percent; Table B-12).
In the process of keeping student records up to date, MEPs are expected to maintain records by filling gaps and ensuring that essential data are included or updated. Therefore, MEP summerterm projects were also asked whether they included the following types of information when creating or updating student records:
Most MEP summer-term projects indicated that they included information on program eligibility (88 percent; Figure 10 and Table B-12). Projects were less likely to include updates on Previous Pages (74 percent), and about two-thirds included data on assessments, courses, and hours/credits. In addition, about half of MEP summer-term projects included information on health assessments when creating or updating records.
There were some differences by student population served among projects that included various types of information-courses, hours/credits, assessments, health assessments, and program eligibility (Figure 11 and Table B-12). When creating or updating records, projects serving only elementary-age students were less likely to include the information than were projects serving students of all age groups (including elementary-age students). For example, 37 percent of projects serving elementary-age students only, and about half of MEP projects targeting students of all ages, included health assessment data in student records. Compared with projects serving elementary-age students only, projects serving students of all ages could be expected to be more likely to include information on courses and hours or credits because these records are typically not required for elementary students.
To examine the ways in which records were transmitted by MEP summer-term projects in 1998, the survey asked about the various ways in which records were received by projects and how records were transferred at the end of the project.
Ways in Which Records Were Received: MEP summer-term projects were asked to estimate the proportion of migrant student records they received in various ways, that is, whether records were:
Projects reported that three-fourths (74 percent) of migrant student records were already on file (Table 10 and Table B-13). Few records were obtained in other ways: 7 percent of student records were requested from the sending school; 4 percent were automatically sent by school or obtained through a multistate electronic database; 3 percent were obtained through a state MEP office or handcarried by parents; and 2 percent were obtained because the sending school called for an informal briefing. Six percent of student records were received in ways other than those listed above.
Ways in Which Records Were Transferred at the End of the Project: The survey also asked if migrant students' records were transmitted at the completion of the MEP summer-term project; that is, whether records were:
Forwarding records to the students' next schools was the most common method of transmitting student records at the completion of the 1998 summer term; 60 percent of projects indicated they always or usually transmitted records this way (Figure 12 and Table B-15). Projects were less likely to report they always or usually held records until they were requested by the students' next schools or forwarded records to the state MEP office (44 percent). Projects were least likely to forward records to a multistate MEP database (24 percent) or to give records to students to handcarry (11 percent).
With the elimination of the MSRTS, states are expected to establish alternative records systems in order to continue counting and tracking migrant students. Because California and Texas have the largest concentrations of migrant students, it is useful to examine whether these states differ from all other states in the extent to which student records were available, updated, and transmitted. The proportion of migrant students for whom academic records were available at the start of the project differed by selected states (tables 11 and B-10). Projects in states with large concentrations of migrant students reported proportionately more students for whom academic records were available at the start of the project, compared with the number of students for projects in other states.
The proportion of students for whom records were available at the start of the project ranged from 90 percent in Texas to 79 percent in California and 63 percent in other states. Moreover, records were not obtained at all for 6 percent of the students enrolled in MEP summer-term projects in California, 4 percent of students in Texas, and 21 percent of students in other states.
MEP summer-term projects in California and Texas did not differ from projects located in other states in keeping their student records up-to-date (tables 12 and B-12). The proportion of projects reporting that they created or updated records ranged from 93 percent in California to 87 percent in Texas and other states. In addition, for all types of information included in records except one, there were no state differences in the type of information included when records were created or updated. The one exception is health assessment information; projects located in California were more likely than projects in other states to include health assessments when creating or updating records, and projects in Texas were least likely to include the information.
There were some state differences in the proportion of MEP summer-term projects indicating that they used various methods to transmit students' records, although these differences were not always consistent (Figure 13 and Table B-15). For instance, projects in California were considerably less likely than those in Texas and other states to report that they always or usually forwarded records to the state MEP office (21 percent versus 54 and 52 percent, respectively). However, projects in Texas were considerably more likely than projects in California and other states to forward records to a multistate MEP database (70 percent versus 8 and 22 percent, respectively). They were also more likely to give the records to students to hand-carry.