Glitch in program swap forces DODEA to return to old grading system
Stars and Stripes August 30, 2009
TOKYO — A pilot program for a new student records system at military schools has been suspended this semester, meaning some students’ records must be input by hand as the school year begins, according to the Department of Defense Education Activity.
The delay will affect only students who registered after June 18 at the 12 schools in the pilot program, according to Charles Hoff, spokesman for the school system in the Pacific.
At the four participating schools in the Pacific, it could affect 656 student records out of an estimated enrollment of 23,000, Hoff said Friday.
Students and parents shouldn’t notice any delay in getting schedules or class assignments on Monday, the first day of school, Hoff said.
"It’s business as usual for us," Hoff said. The students "will have their schedules. Teachers will be able to input grades."
DODEA is in the early stages of using Aspen X2, a new computer system to manage students’ records, which will eventually replace the current system called SMS, Hoff said.
Aspen X2 is meant to improve information exchange between the schools’ version of student data and GradeSpeed, an electronic grade book that allows parents and students to track grades, assignments and teacher comments.
Aspen X2 cost $6.4 million for five years, according to DODEA.
Before launching the system worldwide, the activity picked 12 schools to use Aspen X2 as a pilot program. Earlier this week, staff discovered a problem in transferring data between SMS and Aspen X2, according to a memo from the activity’s headquarters that went out to all schools this week.
The schools affected are: Sasebo Elementary School; Robert D. Edgren High School; Kadena High School; Andersen Elementary School; Kaiserslautern Middle School; Kaiserslautern High School; Incirlik Unit School; Brussels American School; Quantico Middle/High School; Dahlgren School; Lejeune High School; and McNair Elementary School.
The problem is expected to be fixed in four to six weeks, the memo said. But because of the anticipated delay, school officials decided to suspend the pilot program for this semester, the memo said.
"The postponement will allow DoDEA to work with the contractor to build and test an automatic data transfer mechanism, ensure that parallel data systems are in place, and revise the accountability benchmarks necessary to proceed," the memo said.