Hernando student test data access quick as a click

BROOKSVILLE — Many parents are by now avid users of the Hernando school district's Edline system, which offers a Web portal for a student's daily assignments and grade reports.

Now the district is lifting the curtain on an in-house data management system to give parents access to a half-dozen years of Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores and other assessment data.

The AIM-HI software, short for Achievement Information Management-Hernando Initiative, has been a key data clearinghouse for the last several years. Teachers, principals and district staffers use the system to track student progress and target areas in need of improvement.

Parents get some of their children's data, such as FCAT scores, piecemeal over the course of the year, said Linda Peirce, the district's testing specialist. But some parents don't even know what other assessment tools the district uses, such as the ThinkLink diagnostic tests given twice a year to gauge how a student is grasping the skills needed for the FCAT.

Now all of those scores are in one place, on the Web.

"We're excited," Peirce said Tuesday. "This is a running record of their history with six years of data on there. It's charted and graphed and easy to read."

The system breaks down a student's learning gains and achievement levels.

Scores below the 50 percent mark are flagged in red to catch a parent's attention as a possible area of concern.

Scores are also available for students with disabilities who take alternate assessments instead of the FCAT.

For a high school student, the data includes college entrance and Advanced Placement scores.

A demographics section offers basics such as the number of days absent to date and grade-point average for high school students. Other information, such as bus routes and course schedules, will be especially helpful at the beginning of each year, Peirce said.

One of the biggest advantages of giving AIM-HI access to parents, she said: The latest FCAT scores will be posted as soon as they arrive from the state.

The Florida Department of Education had posted FCAT scores on the Web in recent years, but that stopped this year due to budget concerns, Peirce said. The scores are sent home with students if school is still in session, but summer vacation sometimes arrives before the scores. That happened last year, and not every school mails the scores home.

Letters introducing AIM-HI to parents have already been sent, and some have already tried it out.

Cheryl Schurecht looked at the data for her son, a fifth-grader at Westside Elementary.

"It's a great way for parents to keep track of their kids' scores," Schurecht said. "It provides information so we can have better communication between teachers and parents."

Schurecht said she found the system user-friendly and "pretty self-explanatory."

Still, there will certainly be questions, school officials said. Parents are encouraged to contact the assessment teacher at their child's school.

Kristina Garofano, the assessment teacher at Westside, says she knows that will mean more work for her.

"That's a good thing," Garofano said. "That means parents are becoming involved with their child's data. That's the goal."

Superintendent Bryan Blavatt agreed.

"The greatest part of this," Blavatt said, "is it adds a degree of transparency between the parents and the schools."

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

FAST FACTS

Here's how to access the system

To use AIM-HI, go to https://aimhi.hcsb.k12.fl.us.

• For the "username" field, enter the student's seven-digit school ID number, which is the lunch number with one or two leading zeroes. For example, a lunch number of 55555 would be entered as 0055555, and a lunch number of 123456 would be entered as 0123456.

• For "password," enter the student's birth date. For example, Nov. 22, 1998, would be entered as 11221998.

An important note: To access the data, parents must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on their computers.

One of the first steps recommended for parents is to check the emergency contact information. If the information is not current, contact your child's school.

For help, call your school's assessment teacher. Every assessment teacher can be reached by dialing a school's main number, then ext. 267.

Hernando student test data access quick as a click 04/20/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 9:32pm]

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