The federal government, states, school districts, and private foundations are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in educational data management systems. The hope for these investments is that providing better information to teachers and administrators, particularly student performance data, will support school-wide planning, inform classroom practice, and ultimately boost student achievement. Like many previous education reform trends, however, the investment in building these sophisticated data systems has yet to be matched by a commensurate investment in research on their implementation or effectiveness. As a result, little is known about how much and in what ways these systems are actually used, what conditions optimize their use, and, in the end, whether they are making a difference.
This report offers the first systematic examination of actual usage of New York City’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS). ARIS is a comprehensive data system designed to put student information within easy reach of school administrators and teachers. The findings suggest that ARIS has been used successfully as a school-wide planning tool, but was less valuable as a direct aid to classroom instruction. The Research Alliance will continue its study of ARIS through 2013, including an examination of some of the new components and features that have been developed recently by the Department of Education.