Arizona Department of Education Launches New School Data Collection System

AzEDS collects data relevant to allocating about $6 billion in funding for school districts and charters, including attendance, special services and transportation records.

by Yoohyun Jung, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson / July 29, 2015
Students in an Ohio school district will get more mobile devices this school year. Kevin Jarrett, CC by 2.0
(TNS) -- The Arizona Department of Education launched a new system to collect data from schools.

The new system called “AzEDS,” replaced the Student Accountability Information System, which was dysfunctional for several years and costing the department and schools time and money, according to Charles Tack, a department spokesman.

AzEDS collects data relevant to allocating about $6 billion in funding for school districts and charters, including attendance, special services and transportation records. In 2017, the department hopes to launch the second phase of the system, which would also track student demographics.

“This is state-of-the-art technology that hasn’t been seen before in the education realm,” he said.

The old system required school administrators inputting the data to fix things manually when errors occurred. The new one is exponentially more reliable and accurate, according to Tack.

The AzEDS, which cost $39 million to build, is expected to save the state $57 million.

The new system’s launch is part of the department’s broader initiative to improve data collection. Another initiative to take place in the near future is developing dashboards that educators and administrators can use to instantly communicate their various challenges.

“This is the accountability for all of that ($6 billion),” Tack said. “It’s our responsibility to see that that money is going to the right place.”

The goal is to transition all data entry from districts and charters to the new system by July 2016, he said. The department is working with various vendors.

Norm Purdy, Vail School District’s SAIS outreach coordinator, said in a news release that the new system looks promising in terms of providing reliable data.

“We expect the new system will save schools throughout the state substantial amounts of time and money,” he said.

©2015 The Arizona Daily Star. (Tucson, Ariz.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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