Parents in New York state will soon have more information on how their children are performing on state tests, and schools will be able to use the data to target students’ trouble areas and identify weak teachers.
The new system, called Grownet, will allow parents to view not just their child’s test scores, but information on how he or she is performing on a range of academic indicators. A sample report shows that in addition to a 4th grader’s mathematics score, parents would also see how the child performed on specific test tasks, such as geometry, and whether the child is below, within, or above the “target range.”
Districts will receive overall scores and also be able to examine the performance of various subgroups, such as English-language learners or migrant students. And district officials will receive the report just a month or two after the tests are given—much sooner than what has typically been available.
The new system is also possible because of a 10-digit identification number given to each student that will be used to track the student as he or she moves between schools and districts, and from grade to grade.
Stephanie Fehr, the education chairwoman of the New York state PTA, said she worked with the committee designing the reports to make sure the identification numbers will be kept private.
The results of state reading and math tests given earlier this year to students in grades 3-8 will be included in the first reports given out this month.
“The system is an integral part of the regents’ strategy to close the gaps and lift the achievement of all students,” state Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills said in a press release.
The state education department is using $12 million in federal money over the next five years to support the data project.
One of the major differences under Grownet is that in the past, parents had access only to school-level report cards, which did not provide individual student information.
“They have tried to make the information easily readable, and available to each parent for their specific child,” Ms. Fehr said of the new reports. But she added that she still has some concerns about making sure that parents who don’t speak English will receive the necessary translation booklets.
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of Education Week