To assess state policy and practice in education technology, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center surveyed the chief state technology officials in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The research center transmitted the surveys, which contained two sections—one addressing state technology standards and practices and the other addressing the characteristics of state data systems—by mail and e-mail on Feb. 3, 2006. Because of the technical nature of the survey’s second section, recipients were encouraged to forward that portion to the most appropriate staff member within the state agency as warranted.
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Respondents were asked to answer the survey questions and provide appropriate documentation to corroborate the information they reported for the 2005-06 school year. Supporting documentation could come in such forms as state statutes, administrative rules, Web site addresses, or data-system specifications and user manuals. To ensure that answers were accurate and that consistent standards were applied across states, EPE Research Center researchers carefully evaluated each state’s responses and documentary evidence. That often entailed follow-up phone conversations and e-mail correspondence with the individuals who had completed the survey.
At the end of the vetting process, which lasted approximately six weeks, the research center sent the chief state technology officials a completed survey listing their initial responses along with the final determinations made by the research-center staff, based on review of the available documentation. Officials in the state were asked to review the final answers and provide any changes or corrections with appropriate documentation. The EPE Research Center awarded credit for an indicator only when states were able to provide clear evidence that the respective policy or practice was currently in place.
The vetting procedures were followed for the entirety of the survey, with the exception of two new items for which documentation was not readily available. Those survey questions asked states about their activity in two areas: linking student-level state-assessment data to information about standards or instructional resources; and state activity in developing formative or benchmark assessments. Results from those questions appear on Page 21 of Technology Counts 2006 and are presented as state-reported information, without independent verification by the research center.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided responses to the survey. The EPE Research Center gratefully acknowledges the work of all the individuals who generously contributed their time and effort to provide information for the survey. Technology Counts’ editors and research staff hope this examination of policies and activities across the states will inform the efforts of researchers, legislators, policymakers, and practitioners. State-by-state reports highlighting results on this year’s indicators can be viewed on the Web.
Please visit the EPE Research Center online at www.edweek.org/rc to access additional data and to find contact information for research-center staff members.