What's happening to IL high school students' personal data? Our recs for the IL Gen Assembly

Last spring the General Assembly passed PA 100-1007 which created a task force to study "methods by which the college or career interest data of a high school student in this State may be collected and shared amongst public institutions of higher education." The College and Career Interest Task Force met November 2018 through January 2019 and sent a report to the GA. 

The creation of the task force came out of opposition from RYH Action to an earlier version of the bill that would have had the IL State Board of Education administer a survey of all high school juniors in conjunction with the administration of the state test and share the survey data with all public institutions of higher education in Illinois.

The original motivation for that proposal was the current cost to IL's public institutions of higher education of purchasing student data from the College Board and other vendors for the purposes of student recruitment. It was part of a package of bills intended to help repair the damage that the two year budget impasse wrought on the public universities and colleges in Illinois, in particular leading Illinois high school students to pursue post-secondary education outside of Illinois. 

The original bill was amended instead to set up the task force to study this type of data sharing.

Cassie Creswell of RYH Action was one of 30 people appointed to the Task Force. Creswell along with two other members, Kurt Hilgendorf of the Chicago Teachers Union and Cynthia Riseman of the IL Federation of Teachers, submitted an addendum of two recommendations to the members of the General Assembly that were not amenable to the full task force.

Their additional recommendations to the General Assembly were:

  1. Investigate the College Board’s business practices with respect to selling Illinois school student data and whether those sales are in violation of state law
  2. Prioritize security, privacy and transparency as paramount for any collection or use of student data to be shared with Illinois’ public higher education institutions

You can read the Task Force's final report here.  You can read the additional recommendations from RYH Action, CTU and IFT here.

For more information about how survey data from high school students is being shared by the College Board, see this post about why student data privacy is on our legislative agenda this spring and this post about a bill pushed unsuccessfully by the College Board and ACT, Inc last year that would have allowed assessment companies to sell Illinois' students data.



[Image used via Creative Commons]