It is an expense of $229,778.52 during times of budget cutbacks, but it is one that school administrators think is critical to helping meet their goals.
And it should be here this month.
In February, the Moffat County School District Board of Education approved the purchase of a ScanTron machine and TetraData system that will cost, throughout four years, more than $200,000. On Thursday, they saw a demonstration of what the system can do for the district.
The system will allow the school district to create tests and compile the results of those and other tests, including Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, giving them instantaneous data as well as instantaneous analysis of that data.
Having the system is a necessary step in meeting achievement goals, Superintendent of Schools Pete Bergmann said.
The investment isn't as high as it seems, Bergmann said. The district already spends $15,000 to $20,000 a year on testing and has considered hiring a data analyst. The new data management system will fulfill both those needs and allow the district to create and grade its common assessments.
Determining what students need to learn and developing ways to assess whether they have learned that are part of the districts' goals.
"We want to develop common assessments that we can give frequently enough to assess and intervene," Bergmann said. "This is exactly where we want to go with our mission and vision of the Moffat County School District."
Essential learnings in math have been identified in kindergarten through 10th grade. Others are expected to be finalized before the end of the year. Once essential learnings are established, then tests will be created to ensure that students are learning what educators have defined as essential.
Students will be tested each trimester. The results will be analyzed to determine who may need additional instruction in what specific areas.
Bergmann said school administrators think it's an essential component that should be a top priority.
The price includes software, training, hardware and hosting services for the database.
"We can't do what we're supposed to do in terms of the onslaught of data that's coming at us," Assistant Super-intendent Joel Sheridan said. "The question is, do we want to be drug along or do we want to control the direction?"
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org