Closing the Gap: Using Student Data to Improve Teaching

Contacts: Kitty Porterfield,, 703-774-6953
Michael Kaplun,, 202-822-9491
Andrew Spender,, 203-316-3286

Gartner, AASA and CoSN Offer Templates to Improve Instructional Practices

WASHINGTON, DC (January 3, 2013) – In collaboration with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Gartner, Inc. has developed a collection of tools to help schools and districts nationwide use student data to strengthen teaching and learning in the classroom.

Today, school districts already have large amounts of information (including standardized test results) about students that can be used by the classroom teacher to individualize instruction, student by student. What principals and teachers need is a practical system that organizes this data in a way that is easily understood by teachers and readily available during the school day. School districts are looking to purchase tools called student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS) to help them with this task. Sorting through the available products in today’s market to find the appropriate one for a particular district can be a daunting task. Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action provides districts help in this process.

Funding for Closing the Gap is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of the project is to offer school districts:
• Recommendations for the selection and implementation of SIS and LMS programs;
• Best practices for implementation of these solutions in schools and classrooms; and
• Suggestions for moving schools to a more data-rich culture.

Closing the Gap includes nine templates for school districts’ use, each providing guidance on a different phase of the selection and implementation process. The templates include a checklist of critical success factors, a suggested timeline, a delineation of project roles and responsibilities for school personnel, a cost planning guide, and a guide for staff professional development.

“Several critical success factors need to be addressed when planning and implementing student information systems and learning management systems. Gartner developed templates that could be leveraged as a starting point by school districts in helping to ensure successful implementation efforts,” Irma Fabular, Gartner Consulting, Vice President and Senior Managing Partner, North America Consulting Industry Lead for Education.

“Teachers, in today’s data-driven culture, are overwhelmed by the student data available to them,” said AASA executive director Daniel A. Domenech. “They know that the data can help them be more effective, but they need help in identifying which information is the most important. Closing the Gap is an important link in this process.”

“There are enormous opportunities associated with leveraging SIS and LMS systems to advance student-centered century learning,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “For education technology leaders to have templates at their fingertips that provide guidance on the selection and implementation process is key for the most effective deployment and use of these technologies.”

The SIS/LMS Selection and Implementation templates and other resources available to the K-12 educational community can be found under the Resources tab of the Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action website at The tools on the site focus on helping districts leverage their SIS/LMS investments successfully to provide data in the classroom to inform and enhance instructional efforts. All Closing the Gap project reports and resources are free to the K-12 educational community.

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit Follow AASA on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About CoSN
CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit or phone 866.267.8747 to find out more about CoSN’s Leadership Initiatives, annual conference and events, policy and advocacy, membership, and resources.

About Gartner, Inc.
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner to 60,000 clients in 11,500 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Gartner has extensive experience assisting K-12 and higher education organizations address opportunities and business challenges utilizing information technology. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,600 associates, including 1,250 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 80 countries. For more information, visit

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