A snapshot of school information support systems in Nassau and Suffolk counties of New York State: To what degree are information support systems in place in these school districts?
The purpose of this study was to illuminate the information support system processes in place in K to 12 school districts. It sought to determine to what degree the school districts studied were able to undertake the five functions of the Information Support Circle as proposed by McLaughlin et al. (1998) and thus support the school districts' need to convert data into knowledge. This study involved the initial stages of development of an instrument for documenting a school district's capacity to engage in data-driven decision making. Schools today need a knowledge management culture and structure that support their need to convert data into knowledge, as demanded by the current climate of accountability. In education little attention is paid to the process of information management, unlike the fields of business and medicine, where increasing emphasis is placed on institutional knowledge. The School Information Support System Questionnaire (SISSQ) was constructed utilizing the theoretical concepts operationalized in the Information Support Circle (McLaughlin et al. 1998). The SISSQ was delivered as a web based survey to the target population of each of the 124 school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York State. The respondents were the persons designated to report to the state education department on student achievement in public schools. Findings show the respondents enjoy success in performing the tasks needed for solid information management and data-driven decision-making. Conversely, respondents reported they held a confusing combination of roles, received little professional development for their work, and used a vast array of student, personnel and financial information systems. In addition, respondents describe broad use of the data produced through the information support processes in their districts. The SISSQ can be used to provide vital feedback on how our school districts manage their data, information and knowledge to promote school success. Future steps include expansion of the revised SISSQ to other data managers in the state, targeting a larger number of persons in each district. The SISSQ is a tool that can provide vital feedback on how well our school districts manage their data, information and knowledge to promote school success.
0710: Educational software
0723: Information systems