IBM To Develop California Student Achievement System


The California Department of Education has contracted with IBM, through its Global Business Services division, to deliver its next-generation student achievement system. Dubbed the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS), the new system is expected to be deployed in the next three years to provide tracking and reporting on student data.

According to IBM, "CALPADS will collect, maintain, and report statewide information on pupil assessments, enrollment, teacher assignments, and other elements that will be used to track graduation and dropout rates, provide appropriate student services, and better measure student performance over time. CALPADS is also the cornerstone for compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 that measures increased accountability for student achievement. To fully comply with federal law, CALPADS was needed to track individual student enrollment history and achievement data longitudinally that the current California Basic Educational Data System was not designed to perform."

For the system, public school students in K-12 have been assigned non-personally identifiable Statewide Student Identifier numbers to track their progress throughout their primary and secondary educational careers.

"The selection of a world business leader such as IBM to develop our pupil tracking system is an important step toward building more accurate information to measure student performance over time," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell in a statement released last week. "As we seek to close the achievement gap and educate all students to succeed in the global economy, we must have reliable data to drive decisions and target programs to help all students achieve academically."

IBM is involved in similar programs in Illinois and Ohio. Subcontractors on the $15 million California project include Microsoft, Aradyme, Edustructures, ESP Solutions Group, and Stanfield Systems. Development is expected to run through 2008/2009 and should be implemented by the 2009/2010 school year.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).