Education Data: Lessons Learned

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A recent Reuters story described a new national database of student information. Reportedly built at a cost of $100 million, and backed by prestigious non-profits such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, the aim of the project is to build a standardized database of information on all students in the country, grades K through 12.

No, this is not aggregate data. This is detailed, specific information on every student that can include such information as grades, learning disabilities, hobbies and interests. Surely this database doesn’t include student names and other identifiers you say. But in fact it does. And that’s the point. It’s also why this database is so exciting to so many companies in the education market. The goal is to jump-start technology-driven individualized learning for students.

According to the article, school administrators have long (and legally) maintained all sorts of data on students for educational purposes. And, as you would suspect, every school did things a little differently.

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