Building New Systems for Decision Support in Education: Was There a Baby in the Bathwater?

Building New Systems for Decision Support in Education: Was There a Baby in the Bathwater?

Christopher A. Thorn (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-438-5.ch011
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Abstract

Decision support is one of the promises held out by proponents of portal technologies. Role-based access to underlying knowledge management systems is touted as a method for bringing decision makers closer to the relevant data necessary for production and delivery processes. This assumes that successful implementation of knowledge management systems is actually common. Davenport suggests that only a handful of types of knowledge management approaches have been tried with any success by large enterprises (Davenport, De Long, & Beers, 1998; Davenport & Marchand, 1999). Repositories and business analytics systems are two of the most common types of knowledge management systems that school districts have attempted to build. This article argues that efforts to build portals are inseparably tied to district knowledge management system development. Educational organizations are often resource poor and exposed to many conflicting demands on their IT capabilities. The combination of low resources and high demand increases the risk associated with developing new, complex systems. Moreover, complex information systems have failed to deliver much of their promise across any sectors of the economy (Waters, 2003). Such systems have been proposed by school districts across the United States as part of the solution for improving low-performing schools (Trefny, 2002). Portal technology will be crucial to any effort to use information (and information technology) effectively to support good decision-making in educational organizations.

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