Ohio to adopt new student data tracking system

Jenna Staul

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Ohio lawmakers have approved tracking student data from kindergarten through college in an effort to make the state eligible for additional stimulus money.

The state could receive a portion of $400 million in extra stimulus funding for approving the measure, which would effectively link student performance information from elementary and secondary public schools through their performance in the state’s public university system.

Ohio is one of 15 states considered competitive to receive the federal funding, according to the New Teacher Project, a non-profit organization that promotes high quality education.

“To us, it’s just really good policy,” said Rob Evans, spokesperson for the Ohio Board of Regents, underplaying the potential stimulus funding the state could receive for passing the measure. “So to sort of succeed regardless of what Ohio is rewarded, we’d have a comprehensive data system helping us follow students down their academic paths.”

The Ohio Board of Regents tracks student data at universities, while the Department of Education gathers data on students public school students.

The Obama administration is using the funding to persuade lawmakers to adopt student performance databases, but the plan concerns privacy advocates.

Evans said names and Social Security numbers would not be linked to the data.

The board’s current system uses an outside firm to strip names and Social Security numbers from the data.

“Though there are occasional lapses in state-wide information systems, at the Board of Regents, there’s never been an incident,” Evans said.

Crystal Cook, Kent State’s senior legislative office, said the legislation is “a piece of legislation that we’ve taken an interest in.”

Contact administration reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].