First it says: “PII will never be provided by PARCC to the federal government without written authority from a State, or unless legally required to do so by subpoena or court order.”
Which is it? The second statement leaves out the possibility of federal access of the data if the state permits.
At the same time that the PARCC policy says the data will not be used for commercial purposes, it does say that personal student data may be shared by states to PARCC and contractors for a variety of reasons, including “to validate, pilot and field test, and improve the assessments.”
We know that one of PARCC’s prime contractors is Pearson, which is of course a huge multi-national for-profit company; there are also many unnamed sub-contractors. Wireless Generation, a for-profit subsidiary of News Corporation and the prime subcontractor for inBloom, is one of the contractors of Smarter Balanced, the other testing consortium.
- to report assessment results back to states and their local education agencies in a form that is useful to them;
- to prepare reports on student performance for participating states, their LEAs and the public (PII may not be included in public reports or in reports to states or local education agencies that were not the source of the PII):
- to analyze test results to assist member states and their local education agencies for purposes of accountability, including promotion and graduation decisions for individual students; teacher and school leader evaluations; school accountability determinations; determinations of principal and teacher professional development and support needs; and teaching, learning, and program improvement; and
- to carry out studies designed to improve instruction on behalf of participating states and their local education agencies, pursuant to separate agreements with the member states and/or their local education agencies.
In short, none of this should provide much comfort to parents. In fact, these consortia may end up acting as surrogate inBloom’s, aggregating a huge amount of personal student data and handing it off to subcontractors and vendors for a variety of unregulated purposes, without notification to the public or parental consent.
All parents should demand to see their state’s individual agreement with these testing organizations as soon as possible, to find out what additional personal student data is being provided to them and what are the restrictions concerning its further disclosure or use. If there is no agreement pertaining to these issues, there needs to be one before field testing begins this spring.