Who Uses Student Data?
Who uses student data?
School districts, State Department’s of Education, and the US Department of
Education, all collect data about students. These data are used for
important purposes, like improving instruction and providing information to
the public about how well students are doing. But the types of data and who can
access them are different at each point. Here’s a quick look at how student data
are collected and used: first, what kinds of data are we talking about? Data about
individual students that are most useful to teachers and parents are called
personally identifiable information, or information that can be used to identify
individual students. Then there’s de-identified data. That’s
information about individual students but with all the identifying information
removed. Finally, there’s aggregate data. That’s
information about groups of students, with no identifying information included.
Most data about students stay local. These data enable teachers to help
students and improve their teaching. They also help principals and superintendents
decide what resources are needed to better serve students. Schools and
districts rely on service providers for some critical functions such as managing
student transportation, and creating tools for the classroom.
Service providers sometimes need personally identifiable information to
do their jobs, but they only get the information needed to provide their
specific service to teachers and students and no more. The district sends
a small subset of the data it collects to the State Department of Education. The
state uses data collected from districts to measure whether districts are meeting
goals for students, to provide tools back to districts for improving instruction,
to measure whether state funds are improving education, and to provide
aggregate information to the public. The state sends a small portion of what they
collect to the US Department of Education and they only share aggregate
data about groups of students, nothing about individual students. The US
Department of Education uses the aggregate data to report to the public
how district’s schools, and various groups of students, are doing and to
evaluate how funds are improving education. All of the data that are
collected are regulated by federal, state, and
local laws and policies, that determine who can access student data, and for what
purposes. Secure data are quality data. And when parents, teachers, and leaders
have access to quality data, students do better. And that’s who uses student data!
Learn more at dataqualitycampaign.org