Assessments Information Student Data & Privacy

Data Tracking and Common Core

One of the major controversies related to the Common Core standards is whether or not data collection is part of the standards.   Proponents of the Common Core and the website vehemently and explicitly deny it.

There are no data collection requirements of states adopting the CCSS. Standards define expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Implementing the CCSS does not require data collection. The means of assessing students and the data that results from those assessments are up to the discretion of each state and are separate and unique from the CCSS.

The denial is a hollow but  useful statement for proponents to avoid explaining the data collection component of national education reforms.   The statement only says that data collection is not  “requirement” placed upon states adopting Common Core.  Common core and data collection are “separate” and “unique” in the same way that peanut butter and jelly are separate on the same sandwich.   Common Core and data collection are both integral components of the P-20 seamless pathway from cradle to career.

Arne Duncan said in 2009.    “I want to be able to track every child throughout their educational trajectory, so we know what they are doing.” He reiterated his vision again in a recent press release in 2010,

“Tracking student progress from birth through college helps teachers in the classroom, helps principals manage and improve their schools, and helps parents better understand the unique educational needs of their child,”

In order to qualify for Obama’s stimulus money, every state must develop “data infrastructure” mechanisms to track students’ education from “P” (Prenatal)  to “20” the four years post-college. In his testimony before Congress, Secretary. of Education Arne Duncan, said

“…states must build data systems that can track student performance from one year to the next, from one school to another, so that those students and their parents know when they are making progress and when they need extra attention. This information must also be put in the hands of educators so they can use it to improve instruction.”

Michigan received a  $10.6 million grant from the federal government to create our database.    Governor Snyder oversees a P-20 Longitudinal Data System Advisory Council that is responsible for collecting student data.

3. Develop and recommend state and educational entity model policies related to data collection, maintenance and reporting for the P-20 longitudinal data reporting system, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

a. Storing unique student identifiers and matching student-level data in postsecondary data systems;

b. Reporting student-level remedial coursework for institutions of higher education to high schools;

c. Connecting individual teacher data to teacher preparation colleges;

d. Ensuring the privacy of individual student data, including that a student’s social security number is not released to the public for any purpose.

The data is not  released to the public but may be be given to the federal government.   Federal entities request  that states share identifiable student data.    See the Common Education Data Standards, the Data QualityCampaign, and the National Data Collection Model. for more details. 

The  Department of Education altered federal regulations in the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) reducing parental consent requirements and redefining “authorized representative,” “directory information” and “education agency” to obliterate student privacy.

According to a Michigan power point presentation some of the goals of the P-20 longitudinal data tracking are to follow the student from into postsecondary learning even if they attend an institution of higher education (IHE) outside Michigan,

Goal:  With the longitudinal tracking of student-level education data, the state-assigned unique identifier previously assigned to PK-12 students must now follow the student into his/her postsecondary institution.

Solution:  The Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Request for Unique Identification Code (UIC) Collection via the Michigan Student Database System (MSDS) to enable authorized staff members at postsecondary institutions to match existing student UICs, or acquire new UICs for students who have not previously been identified in the MSDS.

Goal:  The electronic transcript will carry the unique identifier from high schools to IHEs. This will help to ensure the correct unique identifier is assigned to the student at the IHE.

}Goal:  Collect postsecondary student-level data
}Solution:  All public IHEs will upload student academic record data to the state via the Student Transcript and Academic Record Repository (STARR) Application.  The data uploaded to the STARR will be pulled into the MSLDS to make the P-20 data connection. Analysis of the STARR data will allow reporting of postsecondary outcomes for each PK-12 school district.
Solution:  Create the Michigan e-Transcript Initiative and partner with Parchment, Inc. (formerly Docufide, Inc.) to provide all high schools and IHEs with the electronic exchange of transcripts with the unique identifier included.

And if student happens to move outside the state, Michigan still wants the data.

}Goal:  To fully meet the requirements of a statewide longitudinal data system, it is necessary to acquire data on high school students who attend an IHE outside of their home state. Thus, it is necessary to access the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data to determine the status of Michigan high school graduates who continue their education either out of state or at a non-STARR participating in-State institution.
}Solution:  Upload high school graduate data from CEPI to the NSC to locate MI students.

CEPI is the Center for Education Performance and Information.  The NSC is the National Student Clearinghouse “the nation’s trusted source for education verificationand student outcomes research.   But don’t worry data collection and a national database are not a part of the Common Core proponents tell us.

Proponents of national education standards are doing their best to keep the dots disconnected for as long as possible.    But the ultimate goal of a national seamless P-20 pathway for work force development for all students. from cradle through college and career.  All the various data will be collected together at

Governor Granholm began the P-20 longitudinal data collection and connection and it continues under Governor Snyder.

In 2011, Michigan Governor Snyder said,

“It is time that we view our educational system which runs from pre-natal to life long learning.  It is time to start talking about P-20 instead of just K-12”

Common Core education reform is a tool for workforce development that depends on accurate testing and tracking data.

Common standards + Common tests + Common data-tracking = P – 20 seamless educational system.

Defunding Common Core and assessments in Michigan helps ensure that education will remain under state control.  But we must also defeat the data collection component to permanently block the P-20 seamless pathway.

(Thanks to Utah teacher,  Christel Swasey, at for some of the links in this post.)