Student information systems (SIS), also known as “student management systems” or “student information management systems,” are web-based software that helps students, teachers, families, and administrators track students’ academic careers.
Student information systems are a type of customer relationship manager (CRM) built within or that are able to integrate with existing school management systems and learning management systems. Student information software maintains student records from their initial registrations to their eventual discharges. They hold data like attendance/truancy records, health histories, discipline records, academic histories/transcripts, financial obligations, and more. For teachers and school administration, student information systems help with scheduling, grading, fundraising, and communications with families, among many others.
Student information systems are built for school and student success. SIS helps students by giving them full transparency to their academic progress and full access to resources and expectations from their teachers.
Administrators can select and fill in specific forms and documents from a library of state reporting templates. Some data can be directly imported from Excel spreadsheets and other file types, which reduces the amount of time needed, as well as data entry errors. And SIS will update templates to stay up-to-date and compliant with data standards like Ed-Fi, SIF, and ADT.
Administrators can view these reports in a variety of ways to assess teachers or departments. They can see how certain classes progress or digress throughout their time at a school, and compare them to past classes and/or state or federal classes of the same year. Schools can create strategies to continue success or reverse declines, and then they can see the results of their strategies in future reports.
Most student information systems have separate portals for students and their guardians. Teachers can post rubrics, schedules, assignments, course work, deadlines, and more, so students have their work and expectations readily available. Teachers can communicate with students and guardians through these portals. This gives guardians easy and direct access to their children’s teachers, and it makes sure that teachers are able to reach guardians. Other notifications and histories will be saved on the portals, like report cards, disciplinary records, health histories, attendance, schedules, and more.
Schools require many different payments from students throughout the year, and student information systems help administrators manage those payments and information. Administrators can create events that students can sign up for and then pay for, all online, within the same portal. That information gets logged, and a student list will be generated for each event. Students can sign up for an event without paying, too; and the SIS will notify administrators to collect payment at a different time. Notifications for payments can be sent to student/guardian portals, as well.
Financial aid, grants, and scholarships can be tracked through SIS, as well. Deadlines can be set for any necessary payments, and schools can set up payment plans with participating students/guardians. Schools can view their incoming revenue and outgoing financial aid, past financial data, and future projects. And they can use that information to prepare budget goals, fundraising targets, and other financial strategies.
Each individual school and district has its own standards, curricula, and needs; and student information systems have broad tools to help with all of them. From kindergarten to postgraduate degrees, SIS helps students and schools with scheduling, finances, data management, and student outcomes.
Some SIS are built for certain types of educational institutions, though. Many student information systems are built to scale up and down with varied enrollment sizes, budgets, student demographics, and educational levels. While others are built to serve specific types of schools and students.
With so many types of students in so many stages of their progress, with so many necessary student services, student information systems need to be flexible and robust. Things like birthday alerts help teachers celebrate with their younger students. And high schools need systems to decide who qualifies for certain types of courses. And with students moving from elementary to secondary schools or transferring from one school to another, SIS needs to be able to easily share information.
Student information systems include a vast number of scheduling tools and gradebooks to comply with any school’s scheduling or grading standards. Teachers can access curriculum management tools and, for example electronically pass out assignments and studies by individual students, as opposed to the entire class. This lets teachers decide how quickly or slowly students will move through their work, and it can help teachers manage their time between their students.
Outside of the classroom, SIS helps manage field trips, arts and athletics, social events, and other extracurriculars. Students and guardians can see when practices/rehearsals are, where certain events will occur, in addition to whatever other important information. SIS helps clubs schedule their meetings, and it helps leaders see where students are supposed to be at any particular time.
Private schools often have additional needs to public schools, mostly around tuition and fundraising; and many SIS have tuition tracking tools for administrators and guardians. Administrators can project revenue based on enrollment and tuition, while guardians can view their tuition paid/owed, along with any financial aid and/or scholarships given to them. Many SIS accept payments online, with tools for payment plans and automatic payments.
Keep donors aware of fundraising efforts, and make payments simpler with student information systems. Private institutions can manage the contact information for families, sponsors, alumni, and past donors, making communication and marketing campaigns simpler and more effective. And then SIS sets up individual accounts for donors for them to enter their contact and billing information. They can set up automated payments, one-time gifts, and more. And SIS stores payment history and documentation, which helps with donor paperwork and tax filings.
And particular requirements for certain schools can be shared with students and guardians. Have students log volunteer hours, have dress codes publicly available, and disciplinary rules, among much more.
Like private schools, recruitment, tuition, and financial aid are important and difficult issues for higher education institutions to solve. Student information systems for higher education help school administrators and their students in very similar ways to private primary and secondary schools. But they have tools to help with grants and student loans, as well.
Students and advisors can also access interactive tools to explore different types of careers. See what degrees employers are looking for, where certain jobs are available, average starting salaries of different occupations, and more.
Students can easily see what types of and/or specific courses they will need to complete in order to declare or seek admission to certain schools and majors. And they can track the progress of their credits and requirements throughout their academic career. So all of their student progress is saved, and students and advisors can cross-reference that information with certain graduation requirements.
Student information systems streamline many administrative and teacher processes, giving them more time to focus on their student services. Student data about attendance, behavior, lunch, grades, and more can be easily collected through dedicated tools and modules. And that data will be securely stored for future reference. These tools help teachers and administrators on a day-to-day basis, and they give a more holistic view of students throughout their academic lives.
Providing school lunch comes with many challenges, and SIS has many solutions. Students and guardians can pay online for lunch ahead of time, instead of having to manage a point of sale (POS) and/or register. Or you can customize your POS to scan by item to create invoices, collect lunch counts, and more. And dietary restrictions and allergies will be saved on these systems, ensuring that students do not interact with foods that are dangerous to them.
Online payments give guardians many different payment plans, and the system will alert guardians and administrators when payments are overdue. Free and reduced lunch programs can automatically be applied to certain students’ online payment plans, which avoids outing students who participate in those programs.
Student information systems have very simple attendance tools for teachers, giving them lists of students’ names or even their photos to check off as present. Administrators will be notified of truancies, and notifications can also be sent to guardians. Administrators can mark students as sick or missing for a time period, which will be reflected in their teachers’ attendance forms. Truancies will be logged, and any consequences will be triggered when certain truancy milestones are reached.
Teachers and administrators have customizable behavior and disciplinary tools through SIS. Track who was involved in what incident, at what time, and where. Those reports will be saved in student records, and notifications can be sent to guardians. Certain infractions or numbers of infractions can trigger certain events, like detentions, suspensions, athletic ineligibility, and more.
Schools can also set up rewards for certain attendance goals and good behavior.
Teachers will have access to flexible, customizable gradebooks. Teachers and administrators can decide what constitutes certain letter grades, or weighting systems can be applied to certain classes or assignments. Teachers can label assignments as reports, worksheets, quizzes, tests, finals, and more; and they can assign them different weights in their gradebooks. And gradebooks will store all of that data to help generate report cards and transcripts. And teachers can publish their rubrics and grading standards online, giving transparency to the grading process to students and guardians.