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COVID-related WISEdata Submission Guidance

COVID-related WISEdata Submission Guidance for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 School Years

WISEdash extracts

Guidance for the 2020-21 school year has been added (current as of 9/1/2020).

This page covers guidance related to 2019-20 and 2020-21 data submission via WISEdata. While some pieces of guidance, such as the attendance section, apply to both public and Choice schools, public schools are the primary target audience. Refer to the DPI Parental Choice Program page for more specific information on Choice schools and COVID-19 changes.

Click on these links below to navigate topics on this page:


  • For the 2020-21 school year, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will require school districts to record attendance this school year for in-person, virtual, or remote instruction. The information below is meant to provide examples of how to address attendance in different formats.

    • In-Person: Standard reporting practices and guidance apply. Attendance should be taken daily. For information on reporting attendance in this scenario, refer to the Attendance data element page.

    • Virtual Instruction: There are multiple options for taking attendance in virtual (digital, analog, synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrid) instructional settings. For complete information on recording attendance for online or blended learning, refer to the Attendance in Online and Blended Learning Environments page. Examples of how to collect attendance include:

      • Learning management system records

      • Evidence of daily work

      • Submission or completion of an assignment, module, exam

      • System log-in

      • Weekly progress reports

      • Attendance is taken in the synchronous event(s)

      • The student is present during the event


      • Educator collects evidence that the student accessed the event (if recorded)

      • Contact or activity logs

      • Pacing charts or adequate course progress

      • A daily check-in with the student (virtual meeting, email connection, phone)

      • Regular weekly check-ins with parents/guardians

  • For the 2019-20 school year, public schools and private schools participating in the Choice program which closed buildings to students are not required to report 2019-20 school year attendance data to DPI during the period of the health emergency closure per the DPI communication on 3/24 stating: “The department will not be requiring school districts to report attendance during the period you are closed for this public health emergency, regardless of whether you are offering instruction. Locally, if you choose to continue to take attendance, you have the latitude to determine how to do so, but that information will not need to be reported to DPI.”
    • This means actual and possible days of attendance will be reduced by the length of the building closure, i.e., the last possible day of attendance for WISEdata purposes would have been the last day in March that a building was open.
    • Schools/districts can be flexible on which closure date to use as the last of the possible days, depending on if the last day in the building was March 16 vs. March 18, etc.
    • A school/district can choose to maintain attendance locally and will need to work closely with their SIS vendor to determine how to record attendance but ideally not submit to WISEdata for state reporting during the closure period of the 2019-20 school year. Ensure attendance submission resumes for the 2020-21 school year.
      • As for desiring attendance guidance during virtual schooling, a district can look to existing virtual school attendance practices. Refer to the DPI Virtual Learning webpage for additional guidance. Districts can also reach out directly to existing virtual schools to ask how they recommend taking attendance.
    • Whatever is submitted to WISEdata for actual and possible days of attendance for the 19-20 school year will be captured in the December 2020 snapshot. While districts have plenty of time to correct incoming data prior to the snapshot, districts should still be aware attendance data submitted to us will be reviewed and reported.
    • Because attendance data fields and programming may differ from school to school, SIS vendors will need to work with each school to determine the appropriate setup for attendance data and, if necessary, modifying attendance data submission.
  • Virtual charter schools that have continued to operate normally and without interruption do not have an hours of instruction waiver and must record attendance; they are also still held to the failure to participate rules. This means virtual charter schools need to record and submit actual and possible days of attendance throughout the health emergency period.

Enrollment and Transfers

  • The health emergency necessitated the closure of physical school buildings, not the schools themselves. Each school/district might offer a varying degree of continued learning, but if they are providing any kind of services to students, they are considered open and operational. An operational school must maintain essential functions, such as
    • having at least one person from the district available to handle student records transfers,
    • new enrollments,
    • transcript requests,
    • mail pickup and posting, etc.
    • At the very least a district administrator/superintendent should always be available for those trying to reach a school/district.
  • The state mandated timeline for transfer of records still applies.
    • Schools/districts should fulfill records transfers promptly to the best of their ability. See above about required essential functions but concede reasonable understanding if it takes a little longer.
    • Security is still of the utmost importance. Email should not be used to transfer any records that have personally identifiable information (PII). If mail is the usual way to transfer student records, someone needs to be at the school to mail out transfer records.
  • A school cannot refuse a student enrollment of educational and/or special education services due to the health emergency. If the school is open (even if the physical building is not), they are still responsible for providing essential functions, such as enrolling a new student.
  • A school/district can choose to continue providing educational services virtually to a student who is no longer physically residing in the district after the emergency closure, but they are under no obligation to do so. This could benefit students, especially migrant or homeless students, to have continuity of education by remaining enrolled and participating in the virtual courses of their district of origin after moving.
    • If choosing to continue educational services, maintain enrollment for the student along with other required WISEdata reporting.
    • When/if the student officially transfers to another district or out of state, use the appropriate exit type.

Roster, Career Education, and Grades

  • Roster data for the entire 2019-20 school year should be submitted to WISEdata to the best of the district’s ability. It is not required for a district to modify any course attributes, but should a district choose to do so during the final term of the school year to better reflect the classroom situation during the COVID-19 emergency, review the Medium of Instruction and Classroom Position Descriptor data elements.
  • Career Education: there are no federal waivers for CTE data reporting. Districts should continue to submit all 2019-2020 Career Education data reporting requirements within their best effort and ability during the COVID-19 health emergency. However, DPI has made the following modification to CTE participant reporting to address the impacts of COVID-19:
    • Carl Perkins districts should continue to report all CTE courses offered for the 2019-2020 school year in order for DPI to accurately determine your CTE participants. Due to the impact of COVID-19, DPI will determine CTE participants based on a student’s participation (enrollment) in a CTE flagged course, while excluding students who have a drop status for the course. In WISEdata, this means that as long as a course section does not have an attempt status descriptor of insufficient, the students in the course will be included in your district’s CTE participant count calculation irrespective of the student’s performance type.
    • Carl Perkins districts should continue to report all CTE concentrators for the 2019-2020 school year. Remember, Carl Perkins districts have the local discretion to determine a student’s completion or passing of CTE courses in a single career pathway in order to identify concentrators for the year. Because CTE concentrator reporting continues to be federally required, Carl Perkins districts should also continue to submit a single IAC code, a single career pathway, and program area(s) for each CTE concentrator identified for the school year.
  • In a March 26 DPI communication DPI announced: “Course grades and class promotions are determined by school board policies and not by state requirements. Districts have latitude in determining what grades to award, if any, for coursework, and what coursework is required for credit attainment.” This means each district can determine the grading method that is best for them and work with their SIS vendor to submit the appropriate data to DPI.
  • When submitting grade earned data to WISEdata, Performance Based Conversion Type is required only for students in grade levels 9-12. While you should still do your best to submit grades earned for all students in 9-12th grade, the performance based indicator (grade earned) for CTE courses for Perkins districts will be required for students in grade levels 11-12.
    • The SIS vendor mapping from letter/numeric grade (Letter/numeric grade is optional but recommended) to "Performance Based Conversion Type" should be based on local LEA school board policy decisions (this isn’t based on state requirement).
    • Note that for 2020-21 this calculation of CTE Participant is changing.
  • For schools looking for information about virtual schooling, refer to this guide released by the National Center for Education Statistics.


  • Any students who meet the school/district’s requirements for graduation should be exited in the usual manner from the school with primary enrollment and submitted to WISEdata with an HSC exit type and the appropriate credential type. Exit type is not required for non-primary enrollments and should not be submitted.
  • For students in special education, make sure that the special education record (sSEPA) has an end date that either matches the exit date or is later than it for the student to count as a special education high school graduate.
  • If a student needs to take summer school classes in order to complete graduation requirements and successfully finishes prior to the following school year, the typical WISEdata guidance applies. Backdate the student’s exit date to the last day of the prior school year and enter the appropriate HSC exit type and credential information.
  • For more information about Graduation Requirements, refer to the Graduation Requirements, Grading, and Class Promotion memo.


  • Any state reportable Discipline incidents that occurred during the 2019-20 school year should be submitted to WISEdata.
  • It is unlikely any new discipline incidents would have occurred during the COVID-19-related building closure period. However, if a student had a multi-day out-of-school suspension that started prior to the building closure, when submitting the Discipline Length, reduce the number of days of suspension to the number of days serving suspension while the school building was still open.

English Language Instruction

With COVID-19 many schools will have limited ability to reclassify students who do not reach an overall composite of 5.0 on the ACCESS for ELLs using the Multiple Indicator Protocol. There will be very limited ways to collect evidence for multiple language domains as needed. Districts may not have collected this information before schools closed.

It may make sense for districts to postpone the reclassification decision until the fall instead of when they might usually make this decision, in the spring. The district should enter the new classification code by the 3rd Friday count in the SIS, so they have the correct data in the system before they have to get 2020-21 ELP codes properly uploaded before next year's testing cycle begins.

Economic Status Guidance (December 2020 Snapshot, June 2021 Spring Demographics Snapshot)

One area of change this year is the economic status indicator. The expansion of free meal eligibility by USDA and other COVID waivers have eliminated (except for those still participating in the National School Lunch Program) the need to collect applications for free or reduced lunch forms in order to provide free meals. Accurate student-level economic status data are required for eligibility for aid to high poverty districts, school accountability, and other formula allocations. This means that student-level economic status information remains necessary.

In order to account for this year’s unique barriers to capturing economic status, we are providing some flexibility for WISEdata reporting. Specifically, we are prioritizing capturing the most recent economic status information you have. As such, you may submit economic status via WISEdata based upon eligibility from last year (2019-20) that has been carried over or updated information based on Direct Certification,an updated eligibility application, or by using the alternate income form. Carryover eligibility is most likely applicable for students who were in your district in 2019-20. Either Direct Certification or an updated application will likely be necessary for new students in your district.

For more information on submitting these data elements, refer to the Food Services Eligibility and Economic Status data element pages.

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