K-12 Data Certification Software Improves District Funding, Accountability and Drop-Out Prevention
WAKEFIELD, Mass, August 19, 2008 – Certica Solutions today announced that it has broadened its presence in Texas, spurred by school districts’ increasing need to comply with education accountability mandates at the state and federal levels. Certica’s Certify™ software helps K-12 districts attain necessary funding and avoid potential penalties and audits, by ensuring the accuracy of data and identifying potential problems that could get flagged at the state level. Certify’s ability to alert districts to compliance issues on a daily basis gives the districts a chance to rectify data problems, provide necessary student interventions and modify administrative processes.
School districts across the nation are challenged in their ability to comply with education mandates related to adequate yearly progress, drop-out rates, special education eligibility, student discipline, teacher certification, and a host of other subjects. Districts demonstrate their compliance through periodic data reporting to their state education agencies. The Texas Education Agency, which oversees 1,200 school districts, currently collects data from districts four times annually through its Public Education Information Management Systems (PEIMS). The reported data is used to gauge progress and accountability, and combined with student assessment data, forms the basis for the state’s Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS), which evaluates school district performance and program effectiveness.
A growing number of Texas districts use Certify software to validate and monitor the data reported via PEIMS. These districts, such as Carrolton-Farmers Branch Independent School District with 26,000 students in the Dallas area, have automated the process of data validation, monitoring and reporting – a process that Certica calls “data certification.” Prior to the introduction of Certify, these districts relied on hand-coded edits or the Texas Education Agency data edit reports, which are available only at data submission time and are difficult for districts to use and understand. By contrast, Certify runs a full PEIMS data certification against district systems on a nightly basis, ensuring that district administrators and department heads know at any point exactly how good their data is – and whether they are in compliance with Texas education mandates.
Certica Solutions recently completed an implementation of Certify software at Aldine Independent School District in the Houston area. Aldine, a district with nearly 59,000 students, has used Certify to implement a comprehensive data certification process for student data supplied to the Texas Records Exchange (TREx), an electronic system that exchanges student transcripts between districts. When run for the first time, Certify detected numerous historic errors in the student data. “TREx is a new program in Texas, and many districts are challenged by its requirement for timely and accurate electronic transcripts,” said Candice Moore, Aldine’s executive director of student services and PEIMS coordinator. “Certify helps us indentify improper student credits, incorrect course history, and invalid course grades – all situations that we were able to rectify when it was initially run, and now correct on a daily basis as those errors creep in. Certify is saving us a lot of time and legwork when it comes to validating and correcting critical student data.”
Aldine and other districts use Certify for data outside of state reporting, as well. Districts maintain critical data in student information systems, financial applications, and other specialized databases that track programs such as special education. Few, if any, of these database systems have adequate means to rigorously validate data on an ongoing basis and provide early-warning alerts if the district is out of compliance with state and federal requirements. Deer Park Independent School District, a Houston-area district of more than 12,000 students which became Certica’s first Texas customer in early 2007, uses Certify to identify patterns of student absences which indicate that a student is in danger of dropping out of school. Deer Park also uses Certify to verify disciplinary information, to ensure that disciplinary incidents are tracked properly and are handled with appropriate disciplinary actions. This means of identifying patterns and providing early-warning alerts gives districts a chance to conduct student interventions, if necessary.
San Angelo Independent School District in West Central Texas with 14,000 students uses Certify to validate payroll, finance and human resources information. The data in these systems is critical for day-to-day operations and planning, but also ties into the district’s ability to receive critical program funding. San Angelo plans to roll out a nightly certification of student information to all schools – referred to as “campuses” in Texas. “This initiative is vital to our district, as we will be focusing on information that has a direct impact on our funding from the state,” said Eric Combs, San Angelo’s data processing manager. “Certify pro-actively highlights missing or inconsistent data, so we can address data problems expediently, thereby reporting accurate data to the state and receiving every state funding dollar that the district is entitled to.”
With a growing number of Texas district customer, Certica Solutions provides a base of hundreds of pre-configured data validation rules for PEIMS reporting, and other data certification modules that focus on particular compliance areas, such as attendance, discipline, course history, PBMAS, and sub-population performance. In addition to Texas, Certica Solutions has K-12 education agency customers in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Certica launched its K-12 data certification business in 2001 as a provider of services to the U.S. Department of Education.
About Certica Solutions, Inc.
Certica Solutions is the leading provider of K-12 data certification software solutions, which deliver a pro-active, systematic approach to data validation, reporting and monitoring. The company’s solutions enable education agencies to maximize funding, streamline information management processes, and optimize regulatory reporting and compliance. Founded in 2001, Certica counts among its customers the U.S. Department of Education, several state departments of education and numerous school districts nationwide.