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ERIC Number: EJ1103591
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-May
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1540-8000
Georgia's Balancing Act: Using, Protecting, and Legislating Student Data
Rickman, Dana
State Education Standard, v16 n2 p10-13 May 2016
By combining an overall vision for the use of data, a commitment to protecting student privacy and data integrity, and supportive legislation, Georgia emerged as a leader in the effective use of student data. But it easily could have gone another way. None of the three elements could be taken for granted when Georgia set out to develop its state longitudinal data systems over a decade ago. A key challenge in Georgia was the entanglement of questions concerning what data should be collected and why with a contentious debate over the Common Core State Standards. The multiyear dispute surrounding Common Core, which included discussions of the proper role of the federal government in education policy, nearly derailed the statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS). In 2010 Georgia was awarded a Race to the Top grant (RT3), providing $400 million over four years to implement its detailed plan for public school improvement. Georgia developed and implemented two related state data systems. Georgia's Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System (GA•AWARDS) provides researchers and policymakers information about programs and overall effectiveness. Its SLDS, called Path to Personalized Learning, provides students and educators with seamless access to data that can inform instruction. During the 2014 legislative session, Senate Bill 167 sponsored by Senator William Ligon came close to passing but was ultimately defeated in the House. Not only would SB 167 have severed Georgia from the standards, it would have banned student assessments that reflected any national or multistate standards and imposed limits on data collection, usage, and technology that would have rendered the data system useless and made online learning challenging. During the 2015 legislative session, two competing data bills were introduced. Senator Ligon introduced SB 157, a slightly modified version of the data portion of SB 167 from the previous year. At the same time, others in Georgia wanted to focus on the security, appropriateness, and ethical use of the data managed in Georgia's two data systems. Therefore, a bill ultimately called SB 89, first introduced in the House by Representative Buzz Brockway, focused on these issues. This article describes how Georgia was able to stave off the more limiting bill that could have undermined education data's ability to inform instruction and policy with the passage of the new Student Data Privacy, Accessibility, and Transparency Act, signed by Governor Nathan Deal in May 2015 which helps to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of students' personally identifiable information, mitigates risks related to the intentional and unintentional use of data, and establishes clarity of roles and responsibilities around data use.
National Association of State Boards of Education. 2121 Crystal Drive Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22202. Tel: 800-368-5023; Tel: 703-684-4000; Fax: 703-836-2313; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Race to the Top
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A