By Robert Kittle
Teachers in South Carolina will soon have a new tool to help them make better use of all the data they get about how their students are doing. The SC Department of Education will soon be launching SLICE, which stands for South Carolina Longitudinal Information Center for Education.
Right now, teachers and administrators have all kinds of information about how students are doing on state and national standardized tests. This new system will now, for the first time, combine and compare all that data, so teachers and administrators can get a better idea of how their districts, schools, and even individual classrooms are doing.
Jay Ragley, spokesman for the state Department of Education, says, "They get to look at it in one central location with a lot of neat tools and data-analysis kits they can use to really identify those students that are doing well and challenge them more, and some of those students that might be falling behind their peers, and find ways to intervene and help them catch up."
The system cost more than $20 million to create, with almost all of the money coming from two federal grants. State lawmakers also put $2.5 million into the system for maintenance and license fees so all school districts could use it for free.
The general public will have access to some of the information, but will not be able to see information about individual students. Teachers will have access to that about their own students, as they do now, so they can better tailor lesson plans and understand individual students' strengths and weaknesses.