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Question: What is the Student Tracking System?
Answer: The Student Tracking System (STS) is a system of organizing important data about learners their academic performance, physical and mental cognition, and their social background. It puts together a comprehensive view of the "whole" child that allows teachers and administrators to understand the total environment in which children are learning. In summary, it puts a face and a memory to each name.
STS is also an early warning that will identify children who needs special attention, at risk-of being abused and at-risk of faltering and leaving school. It is a system that determines the pattern and frequency of poor learning and identifying children who need immediate assistance.
Q: When and how did you start implementing STS?
A: It all started in May 2001 when I and 2 of my colleagues from this school were trained on STS. The training equipped us with the skills and knowledge to create, use and apply STS in our school. There are 12 schools implementing STS in the Philippines, half of which uses the computer-based model while the remaining, the "manual" model.
When we came back from the training we oriented all teachers on STS, advocated to parents and asked their support, particularly in accomplishing the family background questionnaires for each of their children enrolled in school. To validate some questionable entries, we conducted interviews to students, other family members and community leaders.
While the data gathering for family background information was ongoing, our school nurse was also doing health and nutrition monitoring for all students. Afterwhich, we all teachers were asked to construct the learning profiles of each student, dating as far back as their first years in the school.
The teachers-in-charge summarized all data and together with the grade chairman, jointly identified learning falterers. Falterers were classified into three, chronic those who consistently failed , sporadic those who alternately pass and fail, and temporary those who failed once but had no history of failure. Records of falterers (who were lovingly called "stars" - short for students at-risk) were analyzed. Conclusions of the analyses became the basis for the interventions rendered to children.
The school is now completing a research entitled "Faltering at F. Benitez Elem School: causes, effects and possible solutions" which we hope will guide our future interventions.
Q: What benefits do you get out of implementing STS?
A: Our experience with the system is still very new. But we are seeing positive behavioral changes among our teachers. Teachers, by their own testimonies and as observed by their peers and students, have become more patient and understanding of students who falter, miss and misbehave in class. In the past, they consider falterers and absentees as problem students, now they see them as students with problems. They have also come to know more of their students their family background and their special circumstances. This, we believe, is a major step in genuinely helping students at risk.
We also have noticed closer teacher-student relationships now. Some students with special problems confide with their teachers and run to the school for refuge and consolation when their own families fail to give them the attention and the care they need.
Finally, it has helped us define our schools research agenda for the next years. Since our schools goal is to provide quality elementary education to our students, it is incumbent upon us to find ways to make this into reality, to find causes of and address high levels of absenteeism, dropouts and underachievement. And the STS is showing us how it gave us a tool to find out the whys of the problems so we can address the hows.
Q: How did you motivate overworked teachers to support the system?
Q: What were the challenges you faced in implementing STS?
A: The challenges we faced in starting the system can be categorized into three:
Q: What are the lessons learned and the future direction?
A: The main lessons learned fall into three categories:
In the next months, we intend to continue to use and strengthen the system and complete our study on student faltering. We also plan to conduct workshops where all teachers will jointly identify systematic ways of addressing factors of faltering, absenteeism and drop-outs.
In the meantime, we will also help advocate for the expansion of this initiative to all schools in the division of Manila City.
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Last revised March 1, 2002
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