TEA promises to protect student privacy in new data system - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TEA promises to protect student privacy in new data system

Example of StudentGPS Dashboard Example of StudentGPS Dashboard

Lubbock ISD took part in a case study for the Texas Student Data System, which will soon be adopted by all Texas districts.

It puts a lot of student information in one place, but KCBD wanted to know more about how the state protects that information.

One element of the Texas Student Data System is an application called "StudentGPS Dashboard." The dashboards provide instant access to analyzed data instead of asking a data analyst for reports. With the recent data breach in the Midland Independent School District, KCBD asked the state how it will secure students' information.

The Texas Education Agency said only authorized district employees can access this detailed information through the web-based system.

StudentGPS Dashboards are designed to flag emerging issues like a student having problems with attendance, class work or test performance.

"The Texas Education Agency and the Texas Student Data System are committed 100 percent, first and foremost, to protecting every student's data and every student's privacy," said Lauren Callahan, a spokesperson for the TEA.

So, how can the TEA ensure only authorized personnel have access to this confidential information?

"All of the applications are using industry standard encryption technology and are encrypting the confidential information at rest and in transit. At rest meaning in the district, and then when we collect it," Callahan said.

And who from the TEA has access?

"The only way that we see the data that they are collecting on the dashboards is when they need us to assist them with an issue," Callahan said.

She said those accessing the data must have supervisor or manager justification.

What if someone who is not authorized gains access to an administrator's computer?

"They can only access the dashboard by a secure log in and a password," Callahan said.

Right now, these StudentGPS Dashboards are in a limited production release, so only seven school districts in the state have them. Lubbock ISD volunteered to be a case study.

The TEA said these schools were selected because they had the technology in place in the classrooms that is required to use the dashboards.

The TEA said eventually, all school districts in the state will be using this new system and will have access to dashboards.

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