Oregon's Largest District Overhauls Data Reporting


Portland Public Schools (PPS) of Portland, OR, has announced it will implement a new data quality improvement process using Certify K-12 data certification software. Manufactured by Wakefield, MA-based Certica Solutions, the software will help PPS more fully and accurately comply with the annual and intermittent data submission requirements of the Oregon Department of Education.

In recent years, to ensure compliance with federal standards such as those issued under the No Child Left Behind Act, Oregon, like many states, has both significantly increased the data reporting requirements of its schools and become more stringent in its guidelines regarding accuracy and content. This increase has led many districts to struggle to upgrade their reporting systems, but software applications such as Certify K-12 have been introduced specifically to address such needs.

Certify provides what it terms data certification "scorecards," a Web-based system of monitoring data on a daily basis for errors, which users can then correct immediately before they appear in reports. In addition, the software allows users to monitor data for compliance issues, such as ensuring all requisite content is included, as well as for patterns exhibited by students (e.g., attendance rates, precipitous declines in certain subjects, etc.) that may require intervention.

"The software eases the pressure on school personnel and allows us to measure the quality of our data at any point in time," said Dona Lehr, program director for data and policy analysis at PPS. She noted that PPS will initially apply Certify and the new certification process to a data submission process directly tied to district funding and expand its use from there.

"We anticipate that Certify will give us increased confidence that the data we use for decision making and submit to the state is as accurate as possible," Lehr said, "helping to ensure that we receive the state funding necessary to educate our students."

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.