P-20 longitudinal data systems

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P-20 longitudinal data systems are state-level educational databases in the United States designed "to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce."[1]


These databases are developed on different models in different states.[2]

Twelve elements are required in these systems:

  • A unique identifier for every student that does not permit a student to be individually identified (except as permitted by federal and state law);
  • The school enrollment history, demographic characteristics, and program participation record of every student;
  • Information on when a student enrolls, transfers, drops out, or graduates from a school;
  • Students' scores on tests required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act;
  • Information on students who are not tested, by grade and subject;
  • Students' scores on tests measuring whether they're ready for college;
  • A way to identify teachers and to match teachers to their students;
  • Information from students' transcripts, specifically courses taken and grades earned;
  • Data on students' success in college, including whether they enrolled in remedial courses;
  • Data on whether K-12 students are prepared to succeed in college;
  • A system of auditing data for quality, validity, and reliability; and
  • The ability to share data from preschool through postsecondary education data systems.

Privacy and data mining concerns[edit]

Under the Obama Administration, over 1 billion dollars has been spent in developing databases designed for improving the educational system, including P-20 longitudinal data systems. Although these databases contain extensive personally identifiable information, much of this information is "not kept in a format that allows officials to easily extract the complete file on any one child."[3] As of June 2014, parents concerned about student privacy and data mining of student information have begun to organize opposition at the state level:

“We don’t know what they’re tracking and we don’t know what the implications are going to be for these children in the future ... Going for jobs in the future, trying to get into college — we’re in uncharted territory and we just don’t know the implication it’s going to have for the children. We need to slow down.”[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fact Sheet - Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems". U.S. Department of Education. July 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-03.
  2. ^ "Developing and Supporting P–20 Education Data Systems: Different States, Different Models" (PDF). Data Quality Campaign. February 2008. Retrieved 2014-07-03.
  3. ^ a b Simon, Stephanie (2014-06-05). "Big Brother: Meet the Parents". POLITICO.com Print View. Archived from the original on 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-07-03.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Fact Sheet - Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, U.S. Department of Education".

External links[edit]