State slashes data collection requirements

School district officials have long complained about state data reporting requirements — and it appears some changes are on the way.

The state will eliminate an unpopular monthly reporting requirement, state superintendent Sherri Ybarra touted the reductions in a news release Wednesday. And the bimonthly reports will be streamlined as well.

Ybarra presser, 1.6.15
State superintendent Sherri Ybarra

“In an effort to support school districts and personnel who have been working diligently to make (the Idaho System for Educational Excellence) work, we have made changes to the system in hopes that the burden on school districts will be reduced,” Ybarra said.

Better known as ISEE, the state’s longitudinal data system requires districts to upload extensive and cumbersome monthly reports. The State Department of Education will ask for bimonthly reports.

The old monthly reports included 566 separate data elements. Roughly 111 data elements have been eliminated entirely, according to the State Department of Education, because they were “unnecessary, redundant or derivable from other sources.” An additional 115 or so data elements were eliminated from the ISEE reports, but the state is continuing to collect them from other sources.

The State Department of Education says it will eliminate another 55 data elements from reports in 2016-17, as it completes the phaseout of the Schoolnet instructional management system. Schoolnet was touted as a complement to ISEE, but the statewide system has been fraught with problems — and after spending $61 million on Schoolnet, and Ybarra doesn’t plan to fund the system after 2015-16.

The announcement on ISEE reporting requirements came just hours after Ybarra announced the resignation of Will Goodman, the department’s chief technology officer. Goodman, who headed the ISEE data review, is returning to the Mountain Home School District.

More reading: Click here to read more about a critical state audit of ISEE.