Over the next few months, a handful of states will take early steps to try to solve a problem that’s become a by-product of the digital age: navigating the flood of student data.
Right now, all sorts of student data are being kept in everything from testing programs and instructional software to grade books and learning management systems. But the data are often trapped in the program and not easily extracted or combined with other data on the same student, creating the educational equivalent of the Hotel California: data can check in any time it likes, but it can never leave. Or be used effectively by teachers.
So a new initiative, supported by state education leaders and funded by prominent foundations, plans to provide a place in the cloud for each state to store all data for every student, using “free” open source software. And, in the process, student achievement information will be connected to instructional apps and web resources. That is, as long as the effort can address concerns about technology, privacy, and whether enough education companies will want to build products for a system that could undermine parts of their own businesses.