What is a Student Management System, and How To Spot The Good Ones?

 A student management system can mean several different things. However, context clues give away that this software is for managing students. But handling students can mean many things. So what really is a student management system?

A Student Management System is also known as a Student Information System (SIS). These systems work to coordinate scheduling and communications between faculty regarding students. This system exists to simplify information tracking for both parents and administrative staff.  

Below, we will go into some details on what these systems provide.

What Does a Student Management System Do?

Student-centric management systems work to make the management of information more accessible. Below is a list of tracking pieces you might have on your information management system:

  • Health information
  • Schedules 
  • Grade book information
  • Behavior data
  • Age
  • Transcript information
  • Grade level

The focus of this sort of management system is that it is student-centric. This software differs from your other type of management system: school management systems.

School Management vs. Student Management – What’s the Difference?

A school management system sounds like it is interchangeable with student management, but the difference comes from what information you manage:

  • School management systems include information related to the staff. 
  • Student management software is information limited to students.

For example, you shouldn’t find grade book information in your school management software. Instead, you might discover payroll information, billing data, and staff reviews. 

What Should a Student Management System Include?

It’s important to note that school management can include student management information. However, student management does not have all aspects of school management. Your student management information systems can consist of the following services:

Student Schedule Management 

Faculty members and parents need to have consistent information as to what their kid’s schedule is. Both field trips and academic study schedules help parents understand what’s going on. This information is beneficial at the preschool and college levels. 

Grade Book and Transcript Information 

Tracking grade book information is helpful for everyone. It keeps parents informed so they can support their kids. This breakdown also saves time for faculty on fielding questions. 

The system should ideally provide you some information on the student’s academic progress.  You should see a time-lapse of their grade point average over a period. 

Student Health Information

It’s important to track student health information concerning their privacy. Health information should include ADA accommodations and other important information. Just be aware to keep that information between you and approved parties. Knowledge allows school administration and teachers to be responsive to those needs. 

What do you Look for in a Student Management System?

It’s good to have student information management systems that track a wide variety of information. This information gives you a more significant potential for higher student engagement. But what are some signs that you have a good one? Here are some things to look out for:

A Simple On-Boarding Process

Any sound management system has a simple onboarding process. You should never feel that your system is something like rocket science. On-boarding should be no more than a few days. 

An Easy Interface

The interface should be easy to understand, even after the onboarding process. Ideally, it should be a system that you could feasibly understand without an onboarding process. 

A comprehensive dashboard with graphical breakdowns of data can be beneficial. The idea is to understand what your data means at a glance. 

A Strong Customer Service Core 

Regardless of a software creator’s best efforts, something is going to break. That’s why you need to be sure the people you work with have solid customer service. You can see much of this customer service focus during the onboarding process. 

The individual handling the onboarding process should be friendly. If they aren’t, this behavior will reflect on the entirety of the company. You should be able to see yourself working with them long-term. 

Expansion Potential 

If you run a daycare business, you should be looking for expansion potential. The ability for a product to expand dictates whether or not it can grow with you. If you plan on running multiple daycare centers, you want something you can use over time.

Expansion potential dictates a product that can handle multiple centers or additional staff coming on. You should see this process transparently, especially if you are planning on getting different programs down the road. 

Clear Billing Breakdowns 

As you grow your business, you want to plan out how much expanding your software will cost you. You typically don’t want to expand without that understanding in mind. That means you need to be able to discuss a quote of one daycare center vs. three.

If your student software provider doesn’t have this information, that should be concerning. That means that they might overcharge you or overexert themselves when handling a larger version of your business.  

What Businesses are Student Management Software Best For? 

Good management software applies to all forms of business. These can include the following:

  • Technical schools
  • Private schools
  • Child care facilities
  • Public schooling 

All types of schools can take advantage of the right kind of software. You need to be able to answer the following question: will it make us more efficient? 

The answer should be a resounding yes. If you aren’t sure, you might have to discuss your doubts with someone on the other side. They should have examples from their experience as to how other schools have used the software. 

If they are new to the game, they need to paint a good picture. Typically, the best providers have experience with working in education to some capacity. Don’t be afraid to quiz the software providers. They need to think like an educator and school administrative team to know what they need. 


Student management systems make faculty jobs more accessible by giving them an easy place to find and sort information. This system allows teachers and student managers to follow with their student engagement. 

The idea is to create a scenario that makes the lives of administration and teachers easier. So try a bunch of different systems until you find the right one for you. 

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