Decision support systems: Effectiveness and efficiency of use in a school district

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Administration|Education, Technology of




Implementation of information technologies has been found to have a significant impact on the decision making of educational leaders, providing data to answer queries quickly and comprehensively. Data collection has long been an important task, and for many years, districts have accumulated large quantities of data for mandated reports, for inquiry, or for comparison. However, the implementation of information technologies that support decision making for the improvement of student achievement continues to be an unfulfilled promise, lagging behind the use of decision support information technologies in the military and in corporate and some public sectors of the economy. ^ Information technologies by themselves will not necessarily improve decisions; to take full advantage of a technology system educators must ask the right questions and use the available information appropriately. ^ This study addressed the use and effect of decision support information technologies on decision-making of educational administrators for the improvement of student achievement. Using a qualitative approach, it examined. (1) The types of school improvement queries and decisions made using decision-support information technologies by administrators in one Connecticut school district. (2) The scope and depth of data that newly implemented decision-support information technologies made readily available to administrators. (3) How these data were used to support decision-making. (4) Whether available data were of sufficient value to make educationally beneficial decisions. (5) The patterns and problems that occurred with the implementation and use of information technology systems. ^