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For Immediate Release
July 16, 2004

ISBE and IBM Set to Launch Electronic Student Identification System

Springfield, Ill.—The Illinois State Board of Education approved a three-year project Wednesday that will greatly enhance the data collection process of student information at the district level resulting in more accurate information being submitted to the state for school annual report cards.

Known as the Student Information System, ISBE in conjunction with IBM will develop and implement the tracking system that will help districts to provide more accurate student information for state assessments used for the Report Card.

“SIS has been in the planning stages for several years and is finally coming to fruition,” said State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller. “With the requirements that NCLB places on states and schools, this will help all of us improve the process of data collection related to each of our students.”

According to Schiller, the SIS system is yet another major portion of the agency’s initiative to create more processes which are completely electronic and paperless, resulting in greater efficiency. SIS promises to offer several benefits including:

  • Reducing the burden of repeated data collection by schools and districts;
  • Enhancing the use of state data by schools and districts;
  • Improving the accuracy and quality of information gathered from schools and districts;
  • Enable ISBE to respond to the accountability and reporting requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and other federal and state mandates; and
  • Increase Illinois’ capacity to follow an individual student’s progress over time and conduct longitudinal studies that enable educational leaders to make better data-driven decisions regarding policies.

“ISBE and everyone involved are well aware of the magnitude of this project,” said Schiller. “We are all committed to maintaining the privacy, confidentiality and security of student information. Local involvement in all design, development and implementation decisions will be critical to the project’s success.”

Phase I of the project (school year 2004 – 2005), will involve two pilot projects with a consortium of selected districts, vendors that support their local student information systems, ISBE Student Assessment staff, and ISBE testing contractors.

One pilot project will focus on:

  • Collecting local student identification numbers and demographic information from pilot districts;
  • Assigning a unique student identifier to each student in each pilot district (this unique identifier will serve as the link between local student information systems and the ISBE SIS);
  • Assisting pilot districts and their local student information vendors to ensure that these systems are able to store the unique state student identifier and to transfer required data to ISBE in specified data formats;
  • Developing a process to allow pilot district administrators to request a unique state student identifier for students entering the district during the year (This process will include probabilistic algorithms to determine whether or not the student already exists in the ISBE SIS, thereby minimizing the assignment of more than one unique student identifier to each student);

The second pilot will involve working with selected districts, ISBE Student Assessment staff, and testing contractors to capture individual student assessment scores for NCLB reporting during the 2005 testing cycle.

Phase II (school year 2005 – 2006) will expand Phase I activities statewide, building on the lessons and experiences gained during the Phase I pilots.

Phase III (school year 2006 – 2007) will focus on integrating existing special education and career and technical education student systems into the ISBE SIS, and building interfaces to other ISBE systems.

The contract with IBM over the next three years will cost $5.7 million and will be funded equally through state and federal sources.

ISBE collects data annually from its 4,000 schools, in nearly 900 districts, which serve Illinois 2.2 million students.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777