Pearson Inform is one of many powerful new tools for analyzing school data.

Pearson Inform is one of many powerful new tools for analyzing school data.

School data systems are getting more and more sophisticated, a perusal of exhibitors at the 2010 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) suggested—and at least two companies now offer systems that show teachers the entire history of their students’ test results, including the results from previous school years.

Pearson Inform is what Pearson School Systems is calling the latest version of its “performance analytics” software, which helps educators manage students’ achievement data. The software allows teachers to view a list of all assessments a given student has taken, even from prior academic years; by clicking on an assessment, teachers can see how the student did, what test items he or she got wrong, and what standards those test items correlate with.

A similar program from dataMetrics Software of Harvard, Mass., called TestWiz, also enables teachers to view historical information about their students’ test results.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if teachers got a class list in the fall, with the history of each kid already included?” said Naomi Menikoff, president of dataMetrics. Rather than operating blind at the start of the school year, she said, teachers instead would be able to target their instruction more effectively from the very first day of class.

TestWiz is a web-based test processing, scoring, and reporting tool with a robust SQL server database. It helps teachers and administrators track and analyze test data to make sure students are on the way to passing high-stakes exams.

The system has supported state assessments, DIBELS testing, and other standardized exams for more than a decade, but now it’s capable of managing local benchmarking tests as well, Menikoff said—such as formative assessments that teachers give throughout the year to check their students’ progress toward meeting state-mandated learning goals.

dataMetrics personnel will load test data into the system, or local users can scan or key this information in themselves, to create detailed profiles that can be viewed in several different ways: by student, class, or the entire school; by learning standard or instructor; and so on.

Users also can sort the data in many different ways. For example, they could quickly find those students who are not proficient in a given standard, or they could compare the results of a particular assessment with school, district, or statewide averages. In addition, users can export reports from the data as PDF or Word files, and they can create customizable letters to parents, complete with recommended interventions.