Interoperability in K-12 Education — How Districts Can Improve Teaching Efficiency and Student Success - Digital Promise

Interoperability in K-12 Education — How Districts Can Improve Teaching Efficiency and Student Success

August 22, 2018 | By

For anyone working in K-12 schools and districts, using multiple software products is a way of life. In fact, according to a Digital Promise study, 74 percent of districts use more than 26 different education technology products and another 17 percent of districts use over 100.1

With all of these separate K-12 education technology products from a variety of vendors, interoperability — or how well the products communicate and share data with each other — can be a lost cause. When education technology products don’t play nicely together, educators and administrators pay the price. They face wasted time entering or recovering passwords, the hassle of re-entered data across multiple products, limited productivity, and weakened educational opportunities for students.

Teachers at Regional School Unit No. 10 (RSU No. 10) in Dixfield, Maine, were struggling with these same technological challenges. Siloed systems for testing, grades, and class content made it difficult to assess, evaluate, and analyze student performance. Having to remember multiple logins and juggle several applications also took away from critical teaching and planning time.

Parents were frustrated too. “They didn’t know how their students were doing in the classroom and they didn’t know what the classroom content was,” says Reinette Chenard, RSU No. 10’s data manager.2

A lack of interoperability between K-12 education technology products holds back districts like RSU No. 10 from fully communicating with students and parents on past and current performance. It makes it difficult for teachers to use their time efficiently or gain a complete view of student performance so they can make better instructional decisions to foster student success.

An interoperable solution, on the other hand, can help schools and districts unify their applications and systems on a single platform. Interoperability reduces training time and offers IT administrators greater security and a single source of accountability. For teachers, students, and parents, an interoperable solution makes it faster to access applications and provides greater visibility into student performance because data from assessments, gradebooks, and class rosters sits on one platform shared by all applications.

RSU No. 10 adopted PowerSchool Unified Classroom™, an interoperable classroom management solution that combined its SIS, learning, gradebook, and assessment solutions on one platform. As opposed to a plug-and-play system that doesn’t always share data with other applications running on the system, RSU No. 10’s interoperable solution features single sign-on to access all applications within the solution, a common user experience, and a data model shared across applications. Now, each term teachers are saving dozens of hours that they can devote to actual classroom instruction. Students and school staff benefit from an accurate and comprehensive view of student progress.

“I love that it can score assignments, give students immediate feedback, and record the results of their work automatically in the gradebook,” says Chandele Gray, a high school science teacher for RSU No. 10. “I also really like having a one-stop location of students and parents to check grades, access lessons and assignments, and communicate upcoming events. It is really nice to not have to have students (and parents) remember multiple websites, logins, and passwords.”

Read RSU No. 10’s full story here.

LEARN MORE

Read the Center for Digital Education report, Interoperability in K-12 Education.

Or, check out the on-demand webinar, Interoperability: Taking a Whole Child Approach to Improving Student Achievement, featuring Sean Casey of the Ed-Fi Alliance. Watch it now!


Resources:

1“The State of Data Interoperability in Public Education,” Digital Promise, July 2017, http://digitalpromise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/DataInteroperability_Final.pdf.

2“District Saves 100s of Hours with Unified Classroom,” PowerSchool, accessed March 19, 2018, https://www.powerschool.com/casestudy/powerschool-unified-classroom-saves-hundreds-of-hours-for-rsu-no-10-educators/.

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