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Pearson PowerSchool 7.0 Enables National Student Record Transfer

Pearson Education has made dramatic updates to its student information system (SIS) and its online teacher grade book. Version 7.0 of PowerSchool has been recoded entirely in Java to improve performance and moved to the Oracle 11g database platform from Oracle 10g; Version 2.3 of PowerTeacher allows for custom comments, new forms of sorting, and a grade book tracking feature.

The company said that over the last 18 months it has replaced all legacy infrastructure within PowerSchool. "This investment keeps PowerSchool on pace with the technology and functionality demands in the education market place, and will allow Pearson to continue to build upon PowerSchool as the leading student information platform available to K-12 education," said Paul Fletcher, president of the School Systems group of Pearson.

The new version allows PowerSchool customers to transfer student records from one district to another. The feature works like this: A district that uses the new SIS can request electronic delivery of student records for new students within the United States from another U.S. school district. The student's previous school can securely transfer the records electronically to the new school through Pearson's National Transcript Center. This feature can also be used by schools and districts within Canada that are using PowerSchool.

Additional new features in PowerSchool include:

  • An updated user interface that can be applied to existing custom pages;
  • A language translation toolkit that allows customers to translate PowerSchool into multiple languages. The toolkit also allows users to rename the label of existing fields;
  • The addition of 18 different language options for the parent portal, to expand use of school-to-home communications for families whose primary language isn't English;
  • The ability to use the drag-and-drop reporting capabilities to create custom transcripts and report cards; and
  • Password administration controls for password expiration, password reuse prevention, password reset, minimum password length, password complexity, and account lockout.

PowerTeacher includes 20 major feature enhancements, the company said. These include:

  • Improved teacher notifications, including birthdays, newly added students, and dropped students;
  • Custom sort order and the option to add new students to the bottom of the class roster;
  • The ability for teachers to manage a custom comment bank, which can be used to provide more feedback on student performance and to make notes that are invisible to others; and
  • E-mail functionality built into the application.

"While I was a little nervous when I first heard that the core PowerSchool technology was being rewritten, it turns out my nervousness was completely unjustified," said Brian Andle, IT specialist at Willington Public Schools in Connecticut. "I believe that all the PowerSchool customers will be impressed with the new features and the compatibility with all the reports and customizations [they] have made over the years."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.