Database would share grades with other universities

Heather Scarlett

If Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has her way, students’ academic information could be available to institutions outside Kent State in the future.

Spellings is calling for a nationwide database to compare academic performance and cost between universities, according to The Hoya’s Web site.

Constance Hawke, director of federal relations for Kent State, said in an e-mail, “Based on Secretary Spellings’ comments, I believe that she wants to provide comparative data about students’ performance and learning at colleges and universities and make that available to parents, students and policymakers.”

With the proposal of a nationwide database, privacy issues could arise.

“I think it (just) opens a can of worms,” senior graphic design major Alex Brasure said. It would create another database of personal information for students to worry about, he said.

“I think your academic history is that university’s business,” he said.

Hawke said it looks like the database would be “privacy-protected.”

“I don’t believe that the database (would) include personally identifiable information about individual students,” she added.

Whether Kent State will be a part of the nationwide database is still unknown.

“Secretary Spellings indicated that she is going to work with a consortium of states and institutions to link together existing information systems,” Hawke said. “I do not know what states or institutions will be a part of the consortium when it is formed.”

In the long run, the database could prove useful to anyone interested in higher education.

“It (would) supply more information to prospective parents and students when selecting a college or university and provide accountability measures for policymakers,” Hawke said.

Hawke said the criticism may be beneficial to helping shape the parameters of the database in a way that is good for those who will be using it.

Contact academic affairs reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].