A pioneering upgrade shakes up New Jersey’s ed-tech landscape, putting student growth front-and-center.
It appears that change is coming to New Jersey’s school management marketplace.
As a growing number of school districts embrace new all-in-one school software options, the company who sparked NJ’s “single pane of glass” movement is debuting a major upgrade in 2020. OnCourse Systems for Education has announced the state’s first ever “Growth Focused” Student Information System, the only platform of its kind to handle traditional NJSMART reporting while also directly supporting student achievement.
The growing popularity of this growth-focused approach suggests that OnCourse may be onto something big, as school districts like New Brunswick, Kinnelon, Springfield, Buena, and Sayreville have recently made the conversion.
"Legacy SIS products are reactive; they use teachers for data-entry to report on what already happened," says OnCourse CEO Chris Contini.
What is a Growth-Focused Student Information System?
OnCourse's academic impact comes from flipping the traditional SIS experience on its head, says OnCourse CEO Chris Contini.
"Legacy SIS products are reactive. They use teachers for data-entry to report on what already happened," says Contini. "OnCourse is New Jersey's only SIS that is also proactive."
"It helps teachers improve alignment of their instruction and assessments, then share resources with PLCs or parents. Students complete exercises online and teachers can instantly see who has and hasn't mastered a particular standard. Then it posts to the grade book automatically, which creates the time and actionable data teachers need to differentiate instruction."
In 2018, OnCourse became the first New Jersey SIS to offer a complete Learning Management System (LMS), Data Visualization tool, and Assessment system. Contini says that this has always been OnCourse's vision: to bring a teacher's toolkit together in one place. “By integrating the entire cycle of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data analysis, we can remove big time-wasting barriers across any school district," says Contini.
OnCourse’s Ambitious Upgrade Path to 2020-2021
For districts using or considering OnCourse, updates will begin rolling out in February in advance of the 2020-2021 school year. First, users can expect a fresh coat of paint. “We are releasing a big upgrade to make the user experience simpler and more modern,” says Contini, noting that users can opt in or out of these changes throughout 2019-2020. “We are also releasing a terrific new mobile app for parents.”
The upgrades to follow are where the real value is: new equity analytics, customizable notifications, upgraded standards mastery analysis, an online user community, and a powerful new way to view multiple measures of student progress across a range of assessments. Perhaps most interesting is the "Student Growth Story," which combines data on the student's academic performance, attendance, and behavior to create a holistic picture of a student's career.
To help acclimate users to these new upgrades, OnCourse is also announcing a regional user group program beginning in February of 2020.
OnCourse Sets a New Direction for NJ's SIS Providers
Will OnCourse’s academically-centered platform unseat traditional SIS products, which have stayed relatively confined to compliance management? Contini points to several indicators that the marketplace has already shifted.
“We were the first SIS to prioritize academic support with add-ons like the Lesson Planner, Staff Evaluation, and SGO tools. Most NJ products soon released their own versions." He references the declining usage of some of the state's most common products. "Expensive standalone products like Teachscape and Infosnap are being consumed or replaced by Student Information Systems. National SIS providers are acquiring other ed-tech providers to achieve what we have already built here in New Jersey.”
“SIS products have always emphasized compliance at the expense of the teacher and student experience,” says Contini. “The OnCourse SIS is the first system to do it all.”
See OnCourse's new growth-focused upgrades at Techspo 2020 at Harrah's Atlantic City. Join Sayreville Public Schools and OnCourse for a workshop, "How One Big Change Boosted Parent Participation and Unburdened Staff", Thursday, January 30, 2019, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm.