Many large government departments talk about getting their enterprise data in order, but down in Tasmania, the Department of Education has actually done it.
Under the tutelage of IT director Trevor Hill, the agency has built a real-time data portal that allows teachers and admin staff to dip into 150 million school records pulled from 24 different systems, to ensure students are getting the right support at the right time.
The SQL-based education information system - or "edi" - project has been underway since 2011, and is now available in all of Tasmania’s 194 schools, for its 8500 teachers and head office.
For teachers, it means there is now single portal where they can search any data on their students in real time, without having to spend hours trawling through different systems.
The data warehouse brings together assessment data, attendance data, past enrollments, disciplinary events, and demographic information on all of the state’s 64,000 students.
From a management perspective, it delivers access to school budgets and accounts, school-based expenditure tracking, and the ability to piece together customised data reports on demand.
Teachers can now meet with concerned parents equipped with a 360-degree view of how their child is performing, as well as an informed opinion of the factors affecting the student's school behaviour.
For principals, Hill said, it means school attendance reports that used to take three hours to produce every week can now be pulled together in mere seconds.
“It has rapidly become a key tool teachers rely on to support our most vulnerable students while enhancing the learning of all our students," Hill said.
“It frees up teachers so they spend their time where it is valued most.”
This year Hill and his team expanded edi's usability to head office, where HR and finance managers are now drawing on consolidated business data to make strategic decisions.
The data warehouse is governed by an identity matrix that limits what staff are able to see based on their role and their student list, in order to protect student privacy.