July 11, 2004
Beginning in August, the Gilbert Unified School District will electronically monitor its second- through sixthgrade students.
Don’t worry: The district hasn’t gone Big Brother over the summer. Gilbert’s governing board approved the purchase of Tungsten Learning Program, an electronic database that benchmarks students to ensure their success on Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards.
Once a month, Gilbert elementary school students will sit at computers and show what they know about reading, writing and math. Based on students’ responses, the software provides an instant report on their performance and predicts the level of success they should have on AIMS.
Superintendent Brad Barrett compared it to an "electronic spelling test."
"This software allows teachers to know in September, October and November how their classroom is performing," Barrett said. "It’s a measuring stick that allows teachers to adjust their teaching early so they can get the best results."
Currently, Tempe Elementary and Chandler and Mesa unified school districts also benchmark students electronically, but officials from those districts said they don’t test as extensively as Gilbert plans to.
The district paid about $215,000 for the software for the 2004-05 school year.