ISEE, Schoolnet review in the works

By popular — and bipartisan — request, the Legislature’s oversight office will take a closer look at two interlocked school data systems.

Three legislators asked the Office of Performance Evaluations to look at the Idaho System for Educational Excellence and the Schoolnet instructional management system. The former, also known as ISEE, is the state’s longitudinal data system; Schoolnet is supposed to work through ISEE to provide teachers with real-time student information that can help guide instruction.

But both systems have gotten off to an uneven rollout, as evidenced by the legislators’ requests for a closer look.

  • Writing on behalf of his Senate Education Committee, Coeur d’Alene Republican Sen. John Goedde wants OPE to study both systems, “with the focus directed on how both systems can be made to work effectively without additional pressure on local school district staff.” Workload has been a recurring criticism of ISEE, with district officials saying they have had to hire or reassign staff to meet the system’s monthly reporting requirements.
  • Retiring Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell, asked for the oversight office to review ISEE, saying that previous State Department of Education studies had failed to address his local districts’ concerns.
  • Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, wants reviewers to perform an “analysis of acceptance” on Schoolnet, quizzing school districts on the system’s accuracy, validity and ease of use.

The requests will be rolled into a single report, due in the winter of 2015.

OPE may also look at the troubled Idaho Education Network broadband project — which received $11.4 million in bailouts from the 2014 Legislature. Sen. Dan Schmidt has requested a review of the high school broadband system, but this study will be done only if the agency has the resources to do it.

Disclosure: Schoolnet was funded with a startup grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which also funds Idaho Education News.