HEART Online Assessment System to Discontinue

Evan McCormick, School Improvement Consultant

In June 2016, Great Prairie AEA will discontinue support of the HEART Online Assessment System. GPAEA technical support will make every effort to continue to make HEART available throughout the 2015-2016 school year, but an increase in issues affecting its functionality make a terminal shut-down imminent. Continue to contact Evan McCormick until then if you have technical concerns; evan.mccormick@gpaea.org, 319-753-6561 X1298.

The HEART program is housed on an aging server that frequently needs to be restarted. It’s programmed in 4D, an older and unsupported software. Further development by its originators is not planned. There has been declining use of the system since the advent of other assessment programs at both the state and local levels.

Since the majority of data housed in HEART is from the Iowa Assessments, school systems have many options to consider. The same data is imported annually into EdInsight, Iowa’s state-wide data warehouse. Contact your district’s EdInsight coordinator for local training and access requirements. Or contact your GPAEA school improvement consultant at 319-753-6561: the West Region consultant is Mike Stiemsma (extension 5427), the Central Region contact is Cory Johnson (extension 3035), and the East Region contact is Evan McCormick (extension 1298).

Other options are also available. Iowa Testing Programs provides a powerful online tool known as eITP. District leaders should contact Iowa Testing directly for information: http://itp.education.uiowa.edu/Default.aspx. The data that is imported into HEART comes directly from a data disk given to districts when they receive paper reports of results. That data can be opened directly into spreadsheet software such as Excel, Google Sheets, and Numbers. At a minimum, the data is available in those paper reports districts pay to receive annually.

As the HEART program sunsets, it’s important to acknowledge its contribution to increasing the use of data in school improvement decision-making statewide. Heartland AEA received a grant to provide Connor Hood with the resources for its development. The program was offered without cost to AEAs that chose to invest in the hardware and local support for its use. Connor has since moved on to working for the Iowa Department of Education and is instrumental in the current development of TIER, the system thousands of teachers are using for the universal screening of students preK – 6 using FAST and IGDIS. Thanks Connor. Thanks are also offered to those in the GPAEA area who supported local technical needs.

Most importantly, numerous teachers, directors of instruction, principals, and superintendents recognized an increasing need to use data in decision-making. HEART has been a user friendly tool to be able to do so. As data-driven professionals, please continue to access the resources that help with decision-making to meet the needs of your number one stakeholders, the children and families you serve.

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