Classroom Technology

eLearning Update: Data Transparency vs. Student Privacy

By Katie Ash — June 01, 2011 1 min read
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For lots of reasons—push from both the state and federal governments, an increasing emphasis on data collection, and the development of such technologies—many schools now use student information systems, some of which allow parents to be able to track their students’ assignments and grades whenever they so choose. Advocates say that transparency helps parents be more involved in their child’s education and keeps them even more up-to-date and informed on their student’s progress.

However, this article, from CNN, argues that not everyone is happy with this shift—and it’s not just students who are complaining. From the article:

Carol Bengle Gilbert (no relation to author) wants none of it. The Maryland mother of three children ages 16, 13 and 11 says the amount of information coming at her is out of control and unnecessary. ... "I don't think it's normal to be so involved. It creates an unhealthy relationship between parents and their kids. I think kids resent it. My job as a parent is to teach them how to do things on their own. I don't want to be that kind of policeman in my house," [she said.]

Later in the article, Christopher Daddis, an expert in adolescent-parent relationships and associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University, explained that students almost always do better the more their parents are involved in their education, but that making students feel micromanaged can cause anxiety and stress for students. Parents should always be up front about how they are tracking student grades, said Daddis, and not try to access student information “behind their backs.”

What do you think? Is the ability to track student grades and progress at every turn a good thing? Or does it infringe on student privacy and take the responsibility away from the student?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.