States are spending millions of dollars to build powerful new data-management systems to help them keep up with the reporting requirements and student-achievement goals of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, an Education Week report set for release this week has found.
Today’s growing emphasis on data-management applications is overshadowing the technology priorities of past years, when states and schools focused on putting better instructional technologies—such as personal computers and learning software—into classrooms, according to the newspaper’s Technology Counts 2005 report, titled Electronic Transfer: Moving Technology Dollars in New Directions.
“States are betting the farm on new data-management systems in hopes of keeping up with No Child Left Behind,” said Virginia B. Edwards, the editor and publisher of Education Week and of the technology report. “But it remains to be seen whether these investments will have a greater effect on student achievement than investments in instructional software and hardware.”
The report is the eighth edition of the newspaper’s annual examination of educational technology.
In a survey for Technology Counts 2005 by the Education Week Research Center, 15 states reported that the 3-year-old federal education law had influenced their decisions to set up more powerful and sophisticated data-management systems. The report suggests that other states are also considering similar spending decisions. State officials hope those systems will yield information needed to give teachers new strategies for raising student achievement.
The survey also found that 16 states consider data management one of their top two priorities for technology spending.
Underlying this spending trend, the report says, is a philosophical shift in the White House concerning the role of technology in education. During the Clinton administration, federal leaders largely viewed technology as a way to open new educational horizons. Now, under the Bush administration and the demands of the No Child Left Behind law, the emphasis is on technology as a tool for analyzing achievement data.
At the same time, continuing budget problems in many states are forcing them to focus their technology spending more narrowly, the report found.
The report includes educational technology statistics and analyses about each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.