Juneau Announces $4 Million Grant to Connect K-12 and Higher Education Data


Monday, June 18, 2012
By Allyson Hagen
406-444-3160

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2012
Contact: Allyson Hagen, ahagen2@mt.gov, 406.444.3160

Juneau Announces $4 Million Grant to Connect K-12 and Higher Education Data
OPI Remains Focused on Using Data to Improve Student Achievement

HELENA, MT –Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau announced that the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) has been awarded a three-year, $4 million grant to link postsecondary data with Montana's K-12 data system. This grant is the latest in Juneau's efforts to make education data readily-available to educators, parents and communities to improve student learning.

Superintendent Denise Juneau said, "Improving transparency and using data to improve student achievement and set policy priorities has been a focus at OPI over the past three years." She continued, "Our ability to identify which programs are effective at improving learning and then being able to see how prepared our students are for life after high school is going to help us make our great public education system even better."

Linking the K-12 education data with data from the Montana University System (MUS) will allow schools to get a complete picture of whether or not students graduating from their high schools are ready for college. They will be able to analyze which coursework led to successful transitions from high school to higher education as well as which students were not prepared for the rigors of college to focus in on solutions to help ensure student success.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian stated, “In order to better align outcomes and expectations between Montana’s K-12 and higher education systems, it is vital that we develop the data necessary to measure and identify those elements in students’ educational experiences that are driving factors in producing successful students, both in high school and college.  This grant gives us that opportunity.”

"This is exciting news for parents and educators," said Superintendent Juneau. "Data allows us to focus on accountability, effectiveness and achievement. Achieving a high school diploma must mean that a student has the preparation necessary to take the next steps in their lives, including being successful in college. Our continued partnership with higher education is critical to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce and move our state forward."

OPI has been working over the past 15 months to develop and roll out a new public website and warehouse for education data called "GEMS." This new data warehouse allows education data to be combined and searched in ways that are currently labor intensive and inaccessible to the public. The new system will by fully complete by December 2012. Student achievement data such as state and national test scores and AYP status is currently available to the public on the GEMS website. The linkage of K-12 and MUS data is expected to be completed by June 2015.

To view the GEMS website, go to: http://gems.opi.mt.gov.

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