The support organization New Visions for Public Schools is backing away from warnings it made last week about a new Department of Education data warehouse. The group had told principals not to rely on the accuracy of the data in the system, which is called ARIS. But in an e-mail sent to principals today, New Visions said that it had “overstated” those concerns:
We previously sent out our weekly eblast with language which overstated issues of data accuracy in the ARIS system. We continue to support school’s use of this powerful resource for using data to analyze and improve student achievement. Our discussions with the ARIS team have confirmed that all of the system issues of which we were aware have been addressed.
The reversal shifts the picture about what exactly is going on with ARIS, an ambitious project that aims to collect databases on students that had been dispersed and hard to access into a single accessible online location. The first newsletter gave the impression that ARIS was so broken that it was not worth touching, a description that matched what many principals described during the system’s first launch last school year.
The new statement suggests almost the opposite, that the problem isn’t with ARIS as a system but with the data it houses. The only way that data in ARIS can become wrong, the newsletter says, is if schools originally inputted the wrong facts into the old databases ARIS draws from. We still don’t know how widespread errors are (readers, what’s your experience?), but if they are common enough to warrant last week’s letter, perhaps the real concern is not ARIS, but the fact that basic information on students’ academic histories was wrong in the city’s permanent records, and did not get changed, possibly over the course of many years.
Public service announcement time: The New Visions e-mail encourages teachers to report errors they find in the data to the ARIS help desk and to their ISC, integrated service center.
Here’s the full text of the e-mail sent yesterday:
We previously sent out our weekly eblast with language which overstated issues of data accuracy in the ARIS system. We continue to support school’s use of this powerful resource for using data to analyze and improve student achievement. Our discussions with the ARIS team have confirmed that all of the system issues of which we were aware have been addressed. Individual data inaccuracies typically arise when errors have occurred in inputing data by schools into HSST, ATS, etc. If you do not know how to correct your school’s data in the source systems, you or your data specialist can contact the ASL support line at your ISC or reach out to the New Visions School Support Center for assistance. To the extent there are any other issues, you should continue to raise them with the ARIS help desk, which is very responsive to schools (and with the New Visions Support Center, which will provide you with additional assistance and/or advocacy).
Throughout the year, data sets presented in ARIS will grow to complete profiles of students across grades and learning objectives, and tools will grow to provide a full set of customizable functionality that supports exploration, collaboration and innovation by educators and families. For example, ARIS began displaying attendance data this week, and IEP information will be displayed later this month.
For more information about what information is coming in to ARIS when, please click “What’s Next in ARIS” at http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/SchoolReports/ARIS <blocked::http://mail.newvisions.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/SchoolReports/ARIS> <https://mail.nycboe.net/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/SchoolReports/ARIS <blocked::http://mail.newvisions.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://mail.nycboe.net/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://schools.nyc.gov/Accountability/SchoolReports/ARIS> > .
If you have questions about data that you see in ARIS, you can click “Report a Problem” in ARIS, or email ARISfeedback@schools.nyc.gov <mailto:ARISfeedback@schools.nyc.gov <blocked::mailto:ARISfeedback@schools.nyc.gov> > .
New Visions School Support Center