Data collected in Common Core used to track student Twitter activity

Monday, March 30, 2015
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Many parents are unaware that the new assessment industry tools can gather personal data on students without them even being aware of it.

Even opting students out of standardized tests may not help prevent educators from collecting personal data on your child. Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project says new technology is available that can secretly track students' behavioral patterns.

Robbins, Jane (APP)In a recent op-ed, Robbins describes an instance of this taking place when the company administering the Common Core PARCC test reported a student’s after-school tweet about a test question to the New Jersey Department of Education. 

“PARCC’s privacy policy spells out what its contractors may do with student data – and sniffing out objectionable tweeters isn’t among the allowable uses,” Robbins writes. 

She adds that the U.S. government has access “on an ongoing basis” to all student data collected during testing, according to a PARCC agreement.

“The companies and the researchers that are into this, including the U.S. government, think that it’s great and think that it might actually be a way you change behavior as well as teach academic content,” she tells OneNewsNow. “It’s not really about teaching academic content. It’s about achieving the correct behaviors and mindsets in children.”

She says the data can be collected and used by virtually any teacher or administrator rather than qualified psychologists or social workers. 

“Common Core is the vehicle through which all of this is going to get into the classroom,” she adds. “So it is outcome-based education updated with 21st-century technology - and it’s frightening.”

The incident described in her op-ed seems to confirm parents’ fears about their children’s privacy and security.

“From the beginning of the Common Core scheme, parents’ concerns about their children’s privacy have been dismissed as 'conspiracy theories' barely meriting response,” she concludes in her op-ed. “This most recent episode suggests the parental instincts were right on the money.” 

Robbins says this kind of privacy breach and information collecting shouldn't be going on in schools without parents being fully informed. But right now, she adds, that isn't happening - and there are few restrictions on what can be done with the data.

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