As any Arizona elementary school science student knows, the scientific method is the best approach to solving complicated problems. Taking its cue from these future scientists, the Arizona Department of Education is applying this tried and true methodology to the state’s new educational system.
The AELAS Solution
1. State the Problem
Arizona needs to help its students perform to their highest potential. The Arizona Department of Education has embarked upon a far-reaching education reform plan, but more tools are needed in order to carry out the agency’s vision and to comply with federal and state regulations.
2. Research the Issues
Districts, charters, schools, teachers, and parents lack the information needed to boost student achievement. National and state initiatives require that educational decisions be based on hard data at all levels. While the required data are consistently collected by schools, districts, and the state, the results are often inaccessible to those who need them most. ADE and many schools lack the technology and resources they need to make the best decisions possible for Arizona and its students.
3. Develop a Theory
A comprehensive and integrated learning and accountability system will provide educators with the tools they need to make effective decisions and improve student performance. The Arizona State Legislature and ADE are working together to create a statewide system of data collection, analysis, and access tools that will enable everyone – from parents to senators – to make educational decisions based on accurate and timely information. This system is called the Arizona Education Learning and Accountability System (AELAS).
4. Test the Hypothesis
Schools around Arizona are piloting applications and programs as part of a collaborative effort to create a comprehensive solution: the Arizona Education Learning and Accountability System (AELAS). Once a program has proven successful, it is rolled out to all education agencies in the state and becomes an integrated part of system. In addition to truly impressive behind-the-scenes improvements, some AELAS components are already in full swing: Student-Teacher-Course Connection, MCESA-REIL, and ADEConnect are a few of the most critical programs implemented to date.
5. Analyze the Data
Data-driven decision making in education leads to higher student achievement.
Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Successes like upgraded system dependability and near-universal participation in Student-Teacher-Course Connection laid the foundation for ADE to move to the next phase of the AELAS education transformation.
In just two years, ADE has accomplished the following:
- Overhauled the school payment system and reduced processing time by 75%
- Raised SAIS access uptime from “miserable” to 99.7%
- Completed on-time student counts for the first time in a decade
- Launched phased deployment of secure login system ADEConnect
- Improved reporting processes and metrics
- Met with user groups to refine data governance and data sets
6. Publish the Results
AELAS is the solution! AELAS is quickly becoming the educational data system Arizona educators seek. New tools and functions are added monthly, with pilot projects beginning every week. ADE is confident that as AELAS becomes an integral part of the education decision making process, the state will see student outcomes improve and school ratings soar.