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PETI Tools Assist Missouri Districts in Determining Their Technological Progress

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Missouri is a state with a strong tradition of local control. Yet the state still has an obligation to report information to the Legislature, executive branch and the federal government, as well as to assist districts in using technology to improve student achievement. Efforts to support technology in the state include:

  • The Missouri Educational Technology Professionals’ Association (METPA), which was formed to help promote statewide education technology standards and integration, as well as to play an active role in the state’s fall education technology conference and spring technical conference.

  • SuccessLink, which is funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to administer the state’s technology leadership academies, provide a best-practices Web site, and perform other educational services such as the recent work in promoting the implementation of handhelds by teachers and students.

  • The 2006-2011 Missouri Educational Technology Strategic Plan (METSP) to help schools move forward in effective integration of technology into teaching and learning, which results in improved student performance and academic achievement. The state ed tech plan is not a mandate since Missouri is a “local control” state; however, the plan serves Missouri policymakers and school districts with a blueprint that guides and facilitates local and state technology planning, funding, implementation and evaluation.

  • The Missouri Census of Technology (COT) for surveying technology access and use in districts and school buildings.

  • Title II D (of NCLB) grants for local school districts to improve teaching and student performance.

  • These rather disparate efforts generate a variety of data and information, much of which could not be used in conjunction with each other for reporting or making decisions at the state or local level. Both the DESE and SuccessLink are trying to use SETDA’s PETI tools as much as possible in all these efforts. PETI will help Missouri and our school districts bridge the gap among different data elements. Having forward-reaching goals, common definitions, and a means for data collection will facilitate the state and districts in understanding and monitoring progress in using technology effectively and efficiently.

SuccessLink is in the process of automating the PETI tools for not only the technology leadership academy participants, but also for all districts in the state. This will help meet a key objective in the METSP. Further plans within SuccessLink are for the PETI tools to replace surveys currently used in the technology leadership and advanced technology leadership academies.

From the DESE’s perspective, Title II D
competitive grant participants will use PETI tools for program evaluation. The tools will also be embedded in the 2006-2011 METSP. While the DESE will continue to rely on the Missouri COT, items have been aligned with PETI where possible in terms of common definitions and data elements. In addition, Instructional Technology and DESE staff, as well as an ed tech plan committee, are considering the possibility of conducting surveys using PETI’s teacher-related tools.

Finally, the Instructional Technology staff is working with METPA and SuccessLink in planning a program that would support Missouri educators as they learn how to use the PETI observation tools. Once trained and certified, these individuals would be recognized by the state, and available to any Missouri school that requests an on-site visit to determine the extent to which the school is integrating technology effectively. Even in a local control state like Missouri, a common set of tools can assist the state and local districts in determining their progress with technology.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2005 issue of THE Journal.

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