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Meet the most measured, monitored and data-mined students in the history of education.

Your children.

From the time they get on the school bus, until they close their laptops at night, there’s a good chance data are being collected on their whereabouts, their learning patterns, their classroom behavior, what they eat for lunch, the websites they browse on their school computers, and maybe even the amount of sleep they get.

It’s all part of what we’re calling The Quantified Student.

Schools have always gathered basic data on kids—attendance, grades, disciplinary actions—but now that those records are digital, a school can better spot trends and patterns. 

Most states also gather student data in what are known as state longitudinal data systems, with the underlying theory that "better decisions require better information.

There are no laws requiring that states publish a list of the types of data they collect on students, and it can be hard information to track down.  Marketplace has put together a list of data nearly every state collects. 

One of the main reasons for this student data grab is the belief that the more educators know about how a child learns, the better learner he can be.  The more you know who is struggling with which part of the lesson, the better you can tailor an education to that child.

If you've been around a school in the last few years, it's likely you've heard the buzzwords associated with the data-driven classroom: individualized learning, personalized learning, differentiated learning

They’re all based on data. And in some schools, millions of pieces of data are being collected on individual children every week.

Parents may know  little about what is being collected, or how it is being used.

A lot of  student data collection is baked into the way schools run. Student data management services like Pearson PowerSchool gather data on 13 million kids every year. Learning software programs can gather millions of points of data on how a child learns in a single day.

There are laws that allow parents to set some limits on what student data is collected and who can see it.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) limits how school records can be shared.  It also gives parents the right to request a record of their child's data and to opt-out of some data sharing.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) limits the data that can be collected online from children under the age of 13. 

The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) requires parental consent before minors participate in some school surveys. 

States have also passed their own laws to safeguard student data.

But, privacy experts say there's still a whole lot more work to do--to make sure student data doesn't fall into the wrong hands or get gobbled up by marketers and other parties interested in targeting kids with products and services.

If we've learned anything over the last few months, between the NSA revelations and the massive retailer data breaches, it's that our personal information may not be as private as we'd like to believe.

To embed the "State by state guide to student data collection" widget, paste the following code into your page.

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Student data privacy laws around the nation

In 2014, many states considered or passed new legislation protecting student data. You can see which states responded to which issues by clicking on the icons below. You can also click on each state for more details about its laws.

States which have passed or considered legislation restricting cloud-computing services and vendors.

States which have passed or considered legislation restricting the use of student data for marketing

States which have passed or considered legislation restricting how student data is shared.

States which have passed or considered legislation making the data-collection process more transparent.

States which have passed or considered legislation limiting the kind of information that schools and agencies can collect.


Laws:

Bills:

  • States with new privacy laws
  • States with legislation introduced in 2014
  • States where legislation was defeated
  • States which rely solely on federal laws
  • New laws or legislation restricting cloud-computing services and vendors.
  • New laws or legislation restricting the use of student data for marketing
  • New laws or legislation restricting how student data is shared.
  • New laws or legislation making the data-collection process more transparent.
  • New laws or legislation limiting the kind of information that schools and agencies can collect.

Sources: Marketplace research and Data Quality Campaign data

Follow Adriene Hill at @adrienehill