Evolution of Education’s Shift Toward Personalization: eScholar’s 15 Year Path

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June 26th, 2012

Listening carefully to the challenges educators face and finding ways to use data, technology and research to address them has led us on a fifteen year journey of firsts. The education market is now at a tipping point in terms of how it uses data to deliver an education experience that most effectively supports the success of each individual.

eScholar began with a simple mission: apply data in a meaningful way to the education process. With experience in developing and managing large data systems in many industries, and a particular focus on turning data into valuable information, it seemed to be a straightforward problem. What I realized quickly was just how complex the educational data problem really was. I was shocked to find that most school districts had at least seven important source data systems and some had as many as fifteen. This was compounded by the fact that no two districts have the same combination of source systems. I tell people all the time, after dealing with data in so many industries, I know that the complexity of the data problem in education is much more challenging than any other.

To pull data together into a holistic picture, we set out to develop a solution that could bring the power of data to the greatest number of educators. The result was the eScholar Complete Data Warehouse® the first packaged, maintained education data warehouse. Our focus on supporting data standards gave us the ability to meet the needs of a diverse set of districts and create a multi-district solution. This eventually allowed us to support large scale deployments. Today eScholar is the de facto leader with 13 State Education Agency implementations. Finally, in developing eScholar CDW we created a versioned product that gave us the ability to focus long term, continually improve our solution and address the education market’s evolving use of data.

Over the years, we have seen our base of customers grow and have been amazed at the innovative ways they have found to use data to help improve education. We have helped them reduce the time involved in accountability and compliance reporting and helped them re-direct that effort toward helping students succeed. This close interaction has allowed us to work with our customers to find many innovative ways to use data to help students succeed. Recent examples of this type of work can be found with our efforts for New York, North Carolina, California, and Texas.

Over the years, we have been on the leading edge of finding ways to maintain the integrity of the data for each individual across time and locations. This work led to the eScholar Uniq-ID system for Students and Staff®. With the ability to collect data about an individual’s education we are able to track development and progress early in their childhood and throughout their educational lifecycle and into their work career.

Once our solutions had integrated and managed billions of records of data for millions of students, we then began to see how we could use this data to help individuals achieve their own personal educational goals. This work has led us to develop the first goal driven personalized education management system, called eScholar myTrack™….and it just keeps going.

The past 15 years has been an exciting adventure that has allowed us to apply innovative ideas toward improving education. We look forward to the future of continuing to work with our customers to solve increasingly valuable problems by building on the foundations we have achieved so far.

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