New focus for student information sharing initiative

Issue: Volume 95, Number 5

Posted: 21 March 2016
Reference #: 1H9d0t

The new name of the project reflects the aim of the initiative, which is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Education and schools.

The Student Management System (SMS) initiative has been renamed SISI – the Student Information Sharing Initiative. The new name of the project better reflects the work of SISI, which aims to ensure core student information is readily available, where and when it is needed, by those authorised to access it.

SISI was launched in 2015 after discussions with schools, and within the Ministry, highlighted problems with SMSs and a desire for change. The Ministry’s project team has worked in partnership with sector representatives to review the use of SMSs within schools, in order to support schools and student achievement and strengthen the education system.

Work has progressed rapidly since the inaugural workshop in March 2015, with a very active web forum and a number of workshops guiding the development process. SISI team members have been visiting schools around the country to learn from individual experiences of management systems.

To date, the SISI team have undertaken a detailed assessment of the types of systems currently used in schools, and are working towards a robust solution which will allow teachers and school leaders the flexibility to continue using systems which work for their particular schools. Particular attention has been paid to learning from the ‘pain points’ that users experience when working with current systems, and to streamlining the ways that schools report information to the Ministry.

A new roadmap

A draft ‘roadmap’ for the project, which is the result of consultation between the Ministry, and interested teachers, school leaders and vendors, is now available for feedback. The roadmap proposes the formation of three separate projects.

The first proposed project is to develop the student information sharing service itself, and focuses on improving the way SMSs are currently used in schools, developing the technical solutions needed to share data between one school and another, and to define the governance and practices required for this initiative to work effectively and safely.

The other two projects seek to streamline and simplify enrolment and Ministry reporting processes, and to create better reporting processes for schools around NCEA, NAG2A and Attendance.

The proposals will help direct the SISI team to develop a solution that provides safe, functional, 21st century data transfer for schools. Feedback on all aspects of SISI work, including the proposals, is welcome at any time. 

Sharing data from your Student Managemetn Systems - Ministry of Education(external link)

If you have an interest in how this initiative progresses, and would like to be part of the ongoing discussion, please email, and request to be added to our dedicated online forum. Alternatively, if you would like to give some one-off feedback about the proposals, you can also email it to the above address. The Ministry will collate feedback received, and post updates to the draft proposals online.


A crucial element in creating an effective information sharing system is the quality of data held by schools in their student management systems. As the SISI team investigated the different SMSs around the country, it was found that data recording practices varied widely across schools, and that a number of schools were not using their systems to the best effect. This may mean that data may not be available to teachers when new students arrive, or that information which exists elsewhere is being entered into the system again.

In response to this, SMS ‘Good Practice’ workshops for school leaders have been developed in partnership with the Connected Learning Advisory (CLA). These workshops are being planned for delivery in term 2, and further information about this will be circulated in the near future.

Staying up-to-date

For those who wish to stay up-to-date, updates on the progress of the initiative will be published monthly on the SISI web page. It is hoped to have a clear programme of work to take the initiative forward by June.

Joining the discussion

All feedback is welcome on the work and direction of SISI. To send feedback or join the online discussion group email with your information.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:01 pm, 21 March 2016

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