The school management system "eClass" was developed by a data center operator and an IT outsourcing company at the beginning of 2005 with the goal of making it easier for teachers to prepare various reports, as well as improve parents' knowledge of their children's progress in school. Today 'eClass' School Management System is used in parallel with classic school paper journals in more than 70 % general-education schools from all over Latvia. An average of 90 000 teachers, pupils and their parents visit the 'eClass' portal every day, while the number of registered users has reached 250 000.
Fulfilling the requirement of the Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia No.779, class journals, reports and academic achievement summary journals have been prepared in the form of the 'eClass' School Management System in conjunction with the Education and Science Ministry (ESM). This means that schools are entitled to introduce the 'eClass' School Management System electronic journals fully removing the need to use classic paper journals. Both the ESM and the Ministry of Electronic Affairs have expressed their support for a complete transition to the electronic assessment of the education process.
Description of target users and groups
'eClass' School Management System can make the work of schoolteachers significantly easier and save them precious time. Work in the electronic environment will not preclude the option for schoolteachers to print out this journal at the end of each year in conformity with regulatory enactments and to submit it to the relevant repository for archiving.
The following functions are implemented within the 'eClass' School Management System:
- fully functional electronic journal for general-education schools (an exact copy of a class journal). Electronic journal corresponds to the Education and Science Ministry (ESM);
- delivery of pupils' marks, absences and notes to parents in an SMS form;
- parental access to the electronic journal and merit notices on the website (for their own children only).
Description of the way to implement the initiative
Reporting and analysis tools for the school's requirements:
- pupils' achievement notices;
- an overview of missed classes with a register of explanatory notes;
- summary of class semester results;
- class free period average mark analysis;
- analyses of credit (test) work;
- semester reports submitted by teachers of individual reports;
- a report regarding substitution classes;
- study achievement summary journal (ratified by ESM);
- preparation and print outs of testimonies (ratified by ESM);
- all the necessary improvement carried out to meet the requirements of professional technical education institutions;
- several new analytical tools for the purposes of school management: comparative assessments at a various points in time, a selection of information according to various criteria and assessment of the results acquired.
Security and availability:
- encoded data transmission, user access limitation up to computer's IP address;
- on-the-fly linkage with state registers is possible;
- user authorization system similar to secure internet bank authorization systems;
- use of an eSignature can be provided;
- a web-based system, with centralized data storage and processing;
- user access to the system is provided via Internet and any Internet browser, no special computer and OS requirements;
- data is stored and processed in a modern data center (MS SQL data bases).
In accordance with its nature, this is a very large project. Both theory and practice have shown us that such projects must be developed in stages in line with priorities.
Preparation of reports
Report preparation is a work tool for schoolteachers incorporating achievement notices, absence notices, test assessments and other reports. The correct preparation of reports is necessary in order to ensure that all the data collected on has been correctly entered in the electronic journal. For example in order to create an achievement notice for pupils regarding a specific period in all subjects, all of the journal entries must be available.
The project also foresees the gradual involvement of both schools and schoolteachers during this stage. For example - '1a' class can prepare reports irrespective of whether or not "1b" and "2a" have entered their data correctly.
Additional functionality for parents, schoolteachers, pupils and school management
The introduction of an additional functionality is envisaged during this stage which will be based on accumulated experience and justified user requirements. The examples worth mentioning are the reciprocal link between parents and teachers, the opportunity to discover lesson timetables and changes to it and the chance to discover the content of school assignments and homework etc.
Transition to exclusive use of electronic journals
If schools turn out to have been persuaded regarding the advantages of these systems and specialists provide positive assessments of the data quality entered and security, then we can proceed to dealing with the question of the replacement of traditional paper journals with their electronic equivalents at the same time renouncing the traditional and ineffective school diary system. This would undoubtedly be a major step in the right direction in regard to the administration of the academic process. However, the ultimate implementation of this stage depends not only on the level of interest shown by schools, but also on a serious commitment to the project on the part of the Education and Science Ministry and even changes in legislation.
Information consolidation for ESM needs
If the school system proves to be of interest to the majority of schools and the system is used in full, then the project provides for the consolidation of data and the performance of analysis on a national-scale to satisfy the requirements of the Education and Science Ministry.
The further development of the project depends on a wide range of factors. The main ones worthy of mention are: the usefulness of the project in the eyes of its users, national interests, technology development and the development of the education system etc. Undoubtedly, as the project evolves, there will be an accumulation of proposals, suggestions and requests that will be analysed and consigned for implementation in line with the priorities and usefulness of the issue concerned.Scope: National