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Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 12:39pm

Georgia Leads In Student Data

Georgia is among the top states in the nation for tracking students over the course of their education, according to a report released Thursday.

The Data Quality Campaign praised Georgia for developing a system that tracks students from pre-kindergarten through college and make that data available electronically at teachers’ desks.

Educators say having that kind of data enables them to provide better instruction and see where student achievement is lacking.

“The data we used to have only showed up when a kid didn’t show up at graduation, and we could say, ‘Wow, we failed another one. Wish we had known that earlier,’” said Aimee Guidera, executive director of the Data Quality Campaign. “What’s happening in Georgia now is that teachers now have that information and [a student] can get flagged by the state and district working together when a kid is at risk of falling off track.”

Guidera said successful student tracking means greater transparency and better analysis of what works and what doesn’t.

“States have a long way to go to make sure that this information is actually being used and not just collected,” Guidera said. “We see Georgia as being one of the nation’s leaders in terms of starting to change the conversation [and] change the perceptions around the value of data to inform those decisions.”

>The report said Georgia still has work to do, including sharing data with teacher preparation programs to improve training.

Georgia rolled out its data system last year. It’s now available in 160 of the state’s 180 school districts.

The state is using nearly $9 million in federal money from a five-year grant to build its data system.