The issuance to students of IDs that connect them to their test scores is critical to the overall success of the federal government's Common Core educational program, according to a study.
Among the "10 essential elements" of a comprehensive data system is "a unique student identifier that connects student data across key databases across years," the study said.
The study, titled "Next Generation State Data System: What is Needed to Support the Next Generation Assessment and Accountability Systems," was conducted by Nancy Smith of the Data Quality Campaign. It was posted online by the Thomas More Law Center as part of its effort to expose the negative consequences of Common Core.
The study said there are no technological barriers to "building the next generation of assessment, accountability and data systems."
The real obstacles are "cultural, political and financial," it said.
"Policymakers need to make the sharing of student-level data – while protecting student confidentiality – not only acceptable, but mandatory across educational institutions," the report said. "Interpretations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that prevent P-12 and postsecondary systems from sharing student-level data hinder the ability to improve student achievement."
The Common Core standards have been criticized for taking away individual student rights and privacy, and the document seems to focus on the perceived need for access to student IDs and their scores throughout their educational careers.
Of the 10 "essential elements" the study considers needed for a data system, several pertain directly to student identification.
The first calls for a "unique statewide student identifier" to connect individual students to various databases. The third requires "the ability to match individual students' test records from year to year." Also needed is "student-level transcript information," "student-level college readiness test scores," "student-level graduation and dropout data" and "the ability to match student records between the P-12 and higher education systems."
"The ability to match student records between the P-12 and higher education systems is critical for evaluating whether students perform at college-readiness levels once they arrive in a postsecondary system," the study said. "The student-level connection between the two systems allows one to investigate what the P-12 academic history and performance levels were for students who enroll in college remediation and allows administrators to identify possible contradictions between P-12 and postsecondary indicators of success – either within or across schools – that need to be addressed to ensure that college- and career-ready standards are being met."
Such results need to be observed closely so that if there are "'trigger' signals that particular students are not on path to successful completion of their coursework or success in future rigorous courses," then teachers "can begin necessary interventions."
"In this type of next generation system the [state education association] data system would collect detailed student-level data directly from schools and districts on a daily or weekly basis and makes that data available almost immediately to teachers, counselors, principals and other school and district administrators."
The study did cite one area of success: the creation of a nationwide data collection center funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to collect data from states and then make "these datasets available to researchers and other organizations."
"The next generation data system will likely come to fruition when we have both local educators and state policymakers calling for access to more data in easy to use formats on a more frequent basis. The convergence of demands from the 'bottom up' and the 'top down' will create the perfect storm to create a new breed of data system," the report said.