Information Systems for Student Placement and Counseling Applications

The Student Development System (SDS) helps schools quantify student capabilities and respond to student needs.

The most widely applied SDS is intended for use with students about to make the transition from elementary school into junior high or middle school. During this important time for students, decisions about courses of study can be greatly facilitated by the appropriate presentation of relevant data. With the SDS, a biographical inventory provides student input in the areas of Academic Performance, Creativity, Artistic Interest, Communications Skills, and Educational Involvement. Teachers provide ratings of skill in subject matter areas, quality, unusual achievements, participation, etc. And school records provide standardized achievement test results.

The SDS pulls the data from these different sources and presents them to counselors, school decision-makers, parents, and students in a way that typically has not been done before. Better informed choices can be made about placement in, for example, advanced math or English courses, independent study programs, accelerated learning programs, etc. The potential is there for recognizing students at risk of failing to complete secondary education, also. Output from the system provides a detailed analysis of incoming students for each participating school, together with feedback reports for students and their parents. This approach facilitates effective teamwork among educators, students, and parents.

This level of the SDS was applied for several years with all sixth graders in Jordan and Davis, two of Utah's larger districts. Related versions of the system have been used to facilitate selection for gifted and talented programs in Jordan, Davis, and Salt Lake districts. In a similar vein, SDSs have been developed and used on a limited basis with lower-level elementary school students and students making the transition from junior high or middle school into high school.

The SDS facilitates student course placement by collecting data from several sources and presenting them in a consolidated and coherent manner. SDS can greatly streamline, for example, the selection of students for gifted and talented programs.

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