Assessing Technology Integration in Schools

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SETDA’s PETI Tools Assist States in Making Data-Driven Decisions About Education Technology

Almost three years and more than 30 conference calls later, the State EducationalSETDA Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is pleased to announce that its Profiling Educational Technology Integration (PETI) tools are being implemented in states nationwide. The PETI tools, released in September, were funded by the U.S. Department of Education (D'E) and developed in conjunction with the Metiri Group. This suite of tools, which represents a high-quality set of validated resources built with consensus from the states, is available online forfreeto any education stakeholder at www.setda-peti.org.

Critical Components

In 2002, SETDA and the D'E recognized the fact that state and national organizations had collected a great deal of data on technology without establishing a common set of data elements and definitions. In response to this, SETDA brought together several state directors to focus on the challenging task of identifying the key questions, indicators and data elements necessary to assess the integration of technology. Building upon the National Forum on Education Statistics’ “Technology in Schools Handbook” and the enGauge process developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), SETDA members formed a Common Data Elements Task Force to carefully consider the critical components to assess technology integration, including conditions, policies and impact.

The initial set of Common Data Elements was exactly that - a set of data elements identified to respond to key questions and indicators. A consensus was reached by 25 states around these elements, which formed the basis for the entire suite of PETI tools.

SETDA recognized the difficulty the development and validation of instruments posed for the states in terms of capacity and resources, and agreed that creating actual survey and observation tools would provide the most effective technical assistance to the states. Thus, SETDA worked closely with five pilot states to validate the following tools:

  • A district-level survey;
  • A building-level survey for teachers and administrators; and
  • Classroom-level observation tools, including focus groups with students, interviews with teachers and administrators, walk-throughs, and extensive observation protocols.

An Adaptable Approach

Implementing the entire suite of PETI tools is a large undertaking. Although some states are utilizing this approach, others may need to consider different options due to local control, data systems or resources. Keeping this in mind, SETDA and the developers provided tools that can be used in many different ways.

The intention of this special SETDA section in T.H.E. Journal is not only to provide you with more information about the PETI tools, but also to demonstrate how states are already using them. Several states aligned data collection efforts around the common data elements before the PETI tools were even completed. For instance, Pennsylvania and Utah have both taken the spirit and intent of the tools and started to implement PETI to make a difference in their respective states. It’s important to note that districts can fully utilize PETI without being a part of a statewide initiative, while corporations and other organizations are also encouraged to integrate the PETI tools and approach into their research or work with states, districts and schools.

SETDA’s entire purpose for the PETI tools is to provide technical assistance and encourage the use of validated tools that incorporate common, agreed-upon definitions to help all education stakeholders better assess technology in their schools. Please feel free to e-mail me at mwolf@setda.org with any questions or clarifications. We would also love to hear about how you are using PETI.


Members of the Common Data Elements Task Force

  • Deborah Sutton, Missouri Department of Education, Chair
  • Jerry Bates, Tennessee Department of Education, Vice Chair
  • Dean Bergman, Nebraska Department of Education
  • Neah Lohr, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • John Merritt, West Virginia Department of Education
  • Sherawn Merritt Reberry, Idaho Department of Education
  • Brenda Williams, West Virginia Department of Education

SETDA's 'National Trends' Report

In March, SETDA released its second "National Trends" report, which documented how states utilize and implement the No Child Left Behind Act's Title II D (Enhancing Education Through Technology) program. The state survey, which supports this report, was also developed by the SETDA Common Data Elements Task Force and the Metiri Group, and provides the state-by-state Title II D approaches and programs. Forty-nine states and Washington, D.C., completed the survey, and SETDA has identified several key findings that identify the increase in how programs are supporting other NCLB goals and requirements, including data-driven decision-making, data systems, teacher quality, professional development, and closing the achievement gap. In addition, the report includes more than 100 examples of statewide or district programs that are supported by NCLB Title II D. The entire "National Trends" report can be found online at www.setda.org/content.cfm?sectionID=185; the seven key findings are listed below:

  • Finding 1: Technology opens distinct, critical pathways to NCLB goals
  • Findings 2: A focus on new types of professional development
  • Finding 3: Doing more with less through collaborations and partnerships
  • Finding 4: The formula grants sustain; the competitive grants innovate
  • Finding 5: Finding 5: Grappling with evaluation and research
  • Finding 6: Through leadership, a knowledge base is emerging
  • Finding 7: In many states, NCLB Title II D is the only source of funding for technology

Utilizing the PETI tools can help states to assess the effectiveness of NCLB Title II D, state and district programs.

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

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