- Eight of California’s large, urban districts have formed the CORE Data Collaborative, an extension of the California Office to Reform Education, to share and compare data about the 1.7 million students they serve.
- EdSource reports the collaborative will collect and analyze data the state requires, including graduation and suspension rates, college and career readiness, and performance on standardized tests, but it will go further, considering additional metrics like school climate and the extent of students’ social emotional skills.
- The collaborative already reaches about 30% of the state’s K-12 students and could grow if additional schools want to participate, providing more data for a broad analysis that will identify patterns that lead to student success.
When the Common Core State Standards were introduced, so was a parallel initiative aimed to create a national student data system that would be longitudinal, tracking individual students throughout their K-12 careers. That project was torpedoed by privacy advocates, and many families remain suspicious of any efforts to collect student data for long-term analysis.
The CORE Data Collaborative has already taken pains to emphasize its commitment to confidentiality. Policy Analysis in California Education, at Stanford, will lead the search for patterns leading to student success, and the data collaborative says all of its research will be on data that has been stripped of identifying information about individual students and accessed on a secure server only.
There is a great deal of power in being able to analyze so much data. The additional information gleaned from large-scale comparisons will undoubtedly help schools better serve future students. Still, administrators must keep privacy concerns in mind and engage in transparent communication with families.