About Aspen

Aspen SIS is a cloud-based platform for hosting and managing student data. It provides solutions to store data including class schedules, school events, athletic eligibility, student performance and individual health records.

Aspen SIS’s key features include data access, customized state reporting, master scheduling, health database, robust grade book, digital learning tool, instructional management system, bookstore administration, cafeteria and facility supervision, curriculum control, financial management, higher education, housing management, library management, online calendar, e-payments, parent and student portal and reporting.

Aspen SIS comes with mobile applications for Android and iOS devices.


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Supported Operating System(s):

Web browser (OS agnostic)

11 Reviews of Aspen

Average User Ratings

Overall

2.29 / 5 stars

Ease-of-use

2.5

Value for money

1.5

Customer support

2.0

Functionality

2.5

Ratings Snapshot

5 stars

(2)

2

4 stars

(0)

0

3 stars

(0)

0

2 stars

(1)

1

1 stars

(4)

4

Likelihood to Recommend

Not likely

Very likely

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Showing 1 - 11 of 11 results

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November 2017

User Profile Picture

Simon from Fujitsu Canada

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

November 2017

Aspen is used by dozens of our school districts customers representing over 1,500 schools in PreK-12

We are working with Follett to provide easier access and seamless integration to 3rd party applications in areas outside SIS such as classroom support and collaboration tools.

Pros

Fully enterprise-grade software, Aspen was the only product that could scale to support the 50+ school districts and hundreds of thousands of students we are running on our managed SIS service. It has a broad and deep range of functionality that covers almost every need at the school and school district level, while also providing the local capabilities required to support individual students, teachers, parents, counselors and administrators. The solution is also very flexible, allowing a high degree of customization and personalization straight out of the box. From a technology standpoint, Aspen is based on Microsoft SQL Server and .NET technology with a browser-only UI, so Aspen is built for and fully compliant with a multitude of web and cloud environments. The modularity of the design makes Aspen the easiest product to set up and manage while still allowing for localization, integration, reporting, etc. The other key issue for us was security and data privacy, where we used Aspen combined with AD to enable permissions for data access only on a very strict need-to-know basis as required by federal law. From a company standpoint, with over 600,000 active students to support, stability is very important to us. Follett Software is part of Follett Inc. which is a $4B company with 140 year history dedicated to education, so these guys aren't going anywhere! In the very fragmented education software space, that was very important as we were making a 10+ year commitment.

May 2021

Cary from University of Waterloo

Company Size: 5,001-10,000 employees

Industry: Chemicals

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

3.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

2.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2021

Aspen is the premier in the category

It is a little cumbersome in the user interface. The program is designed for knowlegeable users. That said, it is able to do calculations that would be impossible to do by hand.

Pros

Aspen has been around for a long time. It does amazing calculations in the background that would be impossible to do by hand. The answers may actually mean something if you have the expertise to ask the right questions.

Cons

It is very complex. The user interface is dated. It is still using Fortran 77 as the basis for the programming. The answers you get are very dependent on the inputs you provide and the calculation methods you select. The user must be knowledgeable in the process.

May 2019

Anonymous

Verified Reviewer

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

1.0

Value for money

1.0

Customer support

1.0

Functionality

1.0

May 2019

One of the most archaic systems I have used

I cannot believe our district paid money for software as archaic as this. I feel like no user-design experience went into the creation of this thing. Poor programming can be seen everywhere. Multiple clicks and screen reloads are required to submit a simple thing such as attendance, which can take upwards of 10 minutes per class. The bottom line is I would rather keep a paper and pencil gradebook than use this software.

Pros

Ability to email all student from inside the portal.

Cons

* Attendance set up is painful. Say a student is not there, you mark them absent. Click submit. Then they show up. As a teacher you must now mark them present, click submit. Wait for the page to reload. Mark them tardy, click submit. Then to add to that you may only submit 3 changes per reload before the system produces an error. Am I being tortured. * Lets talk about the assignments and gradebook. Naming assignments requires you to create "GB Column Name" which is limited to 10 characters long and must be unique. This is just lazy programming. Why can't we have an unlimited character string. * Most other gradebook software, even the ones that are FREE allow the user to upload grade from a spreadsheet or csv file. Not Aspen Follett. * Do you like to write comments such as marking an assignment that was turned in late, or incomplete, or completed with one-on-one assistance from an aid? You cannot do this by simply clicking a checkbox. You must instead physically type this as a comment after opening each student's individual assignment record and saving and reloading the next screen. *Student experience is almost as bad as the teacher experience. Students must go thru multiple screens of navigation (up to 13 screen reloads) in order to view the assignments and grades for their 8th period class.

May 2021

Sara from Campbell County

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Value for money

5.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

5.0

May 2021

Top notch customer service!

Pros

It is very evident that Follett Aspen cares about their customers and meetings their needs. I love that I can easily configure Aspen to meet the needs of my district initiatives.

Cons

Aspen is so extensive. It does have any thing that I don’t like.

July 2019

john from cpsd

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Industry: Music

Time Used: More than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

5.0

Functionality

5.0

July 2019

USE AT SCHOOL

Pros

it contains a lot of useful information and is easily accessible

Cons

some functions are not user friendly, takes too much time to find information

November 2020

Bernice from Bluewater District School Board

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

1.0

Customer support

1.0

Functionality

1.0

November 2020

Mixed Feelings

I’m 49 years old... Trillium did everything we needed with ease and we were able to do our jobs safely and successfully.. Unfortunately, Aspen struggled to provide us with the most basic of tasks.. I would say these past few months with the new program were the worst job experience in my entire life and I believe the majority of office managers at BWDSB, teachers, principals, guidance personnel and anyone who worked in the program would agree with me.. Covid 19 was NOT the issue... Setting up report cards was ridiculously time consuming and so many simple tasks take far too many steps.. surely our time would’ve been better utilized if the tasks were streamlined. I do love all of the options the system offers in regards to manipulating data but there are a few basic things I think could be improved.. When we create a new homeroom in Schedules and attach a teacher to it and pull students into it, then we should NOT need to have to go to that staff member, type in the homeroom and then in addition have to select the students and link them to the homeroom we typed into the staff members name. There is TOO MUCH ROOM FOR ERROR.. in my opinion.. in the 21st century when you create the homeroom in schedules and assign the teacher and students that should automatically update them in the student list and staff list. When we added all of the subjects/sections in Schedules I think they should be in a separate place apart from the Homerooms! now i’ve run out of space :(

Pros

I like that we can create our own field sets so that we can search by First name and even parents names. I also like how easy it is to download info into excel spreadsheets.. I love being able to download class lists into WORD documents so I can create quick tally sheets..

Cons

The most basic function that is missing is the fact that attendance doesn’t communicate with the Bus Manifests and remove and/or add students as their attendance info updates through the day. The other missing element is the option to create a bus EXEMPTION list that REMOVES students who are on pick up that day. Having to print 18 bus lists and manually cross out students and then add or remove additional students throughout the day as records change is tedious, time consuming and far too risky for error.. thereby threatening the safety of children if mistakes are made.. If we had these two basic functions we would be more successful!

Reasons for Switching to Aspen

I honestly don’t know.. I don’t think any office staff or front line employees had a part in the decision..

May 2020

Tammara from Chicago Public Schools

Company Size: 10,000+ employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source


Ease-of-use

1.0

Value for money

1.0

Customer support

1.0

Functionality

1.0

May 2020

Is this a 2-Year Pilot Program?

Pros

I honestly can't think of one and that is really sad.

Cons

This is the most user unfriendly application I've ever had to use as a professional. Simple tasks require a series of clicks and refreshes and a basic task that should be easy, such as creating a printable roster is unbelievable. No one has figured out how to do this after almost two years of use. It's not appealing to look at, the fields to enter assignment information are far too small (limit the user to 8 or 9 characters), and it's just a poor platform. If this were free, it would still be too much money because the amount of time that goes into learning simple tasks that should be no-brainers in 2020 are far to involved. The running rumor is that someone high up in CPS must have a personal or business relationship with an ASPEN Developer.

Reasons for Switching to Aspen

District switch and I wish we could have it back.

August 2019

Jason from Chicago Public Schools

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: Less than 2 years

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

1.0

Value for money

1.0

Functionality

2.0

August 2019

Difficult to use

Aspen is overly complicated. My co-workers are generally confused on how to use it, and navigating it is cumbersome. The old systems were far more effecient. Basic functionality and use just is not there.

Pros

The idea of having more information and functionality

Cons

It is extremely hard to use and has many glitches. Even the simple act of finding a student’s schedule requires multiple menus and is very glitchy. For example, the only way to get the complete schedule is to press the back browser several times. When trying to find a student, the search field of the entire school is broken down by 100 or so students. We have over 1,000 students. I have to guess which field the student is in before I am able to search. When I print out student information (profile, schedule, etc.) the print out is not aligned, and looks disorganized.

Reasons for Switching to Aspen

District decision

November 2020

Shesh from Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Company Size: 1,001-5,000 employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: Less than 12 months

Review Source


Ease-of-use

2.0

Value for money

1.0

Customer support

1.0

Functionality

1.0

November 2020

AVOID

Pros

There is nothing to endorse about this software.

Cons

This software is not ready for prime time. It has been an embarrassment as a corporate roll out. Customer service is garbage. Nothing works. Basic functionality like printing report cards - nope. Integrations with other software products - all broke. Do not waste tax payer dollars on this product.

April 2021

Erica from Forks on the Road

Company Size: 2-10 employees

Industry: Marketing and Advertising

Review Source: Capterra


Ease-of-use

4.0

Value for money

4.0

Customer support

5.0

Functionality

4.0

April 2021

Love Aspen!

This software has made it easier to communicate. The ease of use with it is amazing. We love using Aspen at my work.

Pros

I loved the functionality and ease of use most about this software.

Cons

No cons to this software. I have no cons.

June 2021

Barry from Land O' Lakes Public School

Company Size: 501-1,000 employees

Industry: Education Management

Time Used: Less than 6 months

Review Source


Ease-of-use

1.0

Value for money

1.0

Functionality

1.0

June 2021

The Worst Program I've Ever Seen

Aspen has only created problems; it has solved nothing.

Pros

Um...it's named after a tree that's kinda pretty?

Cons

I now have to use this for attendance and report cards. The attendance part is OK despite a couple of glitches, but the report card writing program is the worst I've seen in 20 years of teaching. How can it be worse than what I was using 20 years ago? I thought technology and programming were constantly being updated and improved over time. How can this product exist now? How much cheaper was this compared to the competition? This is the most user-unfriendly program ever.

Reasons for Switching to Aspen

Trillium got bought out, and the new company tried to put the squeeze on all the boards that had it, wanting more money for the "upgrade". The boards refused and put the job out to tender. This is when Aspen swooped in with the lowest bid out of four contenders and now every teacher in 42 school boards across Ontario are crying on their keyboards.