One of the biggest problems with finding out what’s really going on in higher education is the lack of access to meaningful data about student performance from K–12 through college and into the workforce. Making the available data transparent is sort of a minefield, with great potential for either gain or harm. On one hand, the more data the better, since it will enable much valuable analysis and policy change. On the other hand, there are privacy problems that have to be addressed, such as exposure of personal records from data breaches and the potential for political use of records (as we have recently seen with the IRS).
The federal government has doled out grants to 47 states to look into the issues. Jenna Ashley Robinson takes a look at North Carolina’s attempt at making student data available to the widest audience possible without infringing on student privacy.