Teachers and school leaders sometimes disagreed on how easy it is to use data in the classroom effectively.

State education leaders, district leaders, and teachers disagree on the effectiveness of student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS) they use to capture data to improve instruction, a new survey reveals.

During a Dec. 13 webinar hosted by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), experts from analyst group Gartner Inc., the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), and CoSN discussed current attitudes toward LMS and SIS software use in schools.

The panelists also discussed how creating online communities of practice can help school district leaders better learn how to integrate data into instruction, and they shared some key advice for teachers and school district leaders.

The Gartner-AASA-CoSN initiative, called Closing the Gap: Turning SIS/LMS Data into Action, will produce reports and case studies on various aspects of SIS and LMS software use in schools. The partnership also aims to:

  • Give school and district leaders a broader understanding of current LMS and SIS capabilities, and inform them about teachers’ needs for meaningful data and how to integrate data into classroom instruction.
  • Help educators and school leaders better select, procure, and implement SIS and LMS solutions.
  • Empower school leaders and teachers to analyze student performance and work together on how better to support and motivate students.

Ivy Anderson, a managing partner in Gartner’s State and Local Government Consulting practice, said the reports are intended to help school districts and state education departments gain a more complete understanding of the current state of SIS and LMS solutions, how those solutions provide data, and how those data are used in the classroom. The reports also will help school leaders become more fully engaged in a dialog about how to implement best practices in data use.

“We believe that assessment and curriculum professionals and leadership will be able to learn from the practices, especially from those districts that demonstrate they’re using [data] effectively,” Anderson said.

Anderson previewed the results from a survey planned for release in February, in which 574 school and district leaders provided feedback on their SIS and LMS systems, practices, and the intersection of data and instruction. More than 1,000 teachers, 80 percent of whom are already active SIS or LMS software users, also were interviewed about their experiences using SIS and LMS solutions in the classroom and what barriers they encountered as they tried to use data to inform classroom instruction.

“The findings from each role indicate that the education community disagrees on the effectiveness of SIS/LMS solutions and the training in place to encourage their usage,” Anderson said.