The Iowa Department of Education will receive 8.8 million federal dollars over five years to develop a statewide data system. Department spokesperson, Elaine Watkins-Miller, says the system will collect a variety of information from the districts across the state.

She says they will be able to bring together information that hasn’t been in the same location for awhile so they can look deeply at education data and help schools make some decisions on the data. Watkins-Miller says they will collect things such as long-term education trends and report back to schools.

Watkins-Miller says it will allow the schools to look at the information in different ways to see how they are improving, or how they can enhance programs. She says it will also allow the Education Department to store some data that had been kept at schools. Watkins-Miller says that protects the information in the case of natural disasters like the flooding and tornadoes that hit last year.

The data system is in the works now. Watkins-Miller says it will take a couple of years to get together, and there are some things they are working on this summer to prepare. She says providing information to the public is also part of the program as well.

Watkins-Miller says things like transcripts will be able to be electronically sent between schools when a child moves, or to colleges and universities after graduation. Iowa is one of 27 states to get a grant to develop the system.