MYTH BUSTERS – Common Core State Standards – Data Privacy – September 2013, Issue 8

MYTH Kansas must prohibit further implementation of the 2010 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in order to avoid invasive student data collection. Kansas can just continue to use the pool of existing assessment items currently housed by the University of Kansas.


FACTSThe Kansas Department of Education is not adopting new, invasive student data reporting practices. Rather, Kansas merely updated the state education standards, which it does routinely every seven years, and is revising the associated state tests and

other accountability tools accordingly. Kansas would be engaged in this process whether we implemented the Common Core mathematics and English language arts standards or some other college and career ready standards and will do so again in 2017 in compliance with State statue. Implementation of the CCSS did not have federal data collection requirements.


Fact 1 – Data Privacy.  The Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) and local school districts maintain student records for a variety of reasons, from instructional purposes, to determining eligibility for special programs (free/reduced lunch, special education), forwarding transcripts for college applications, to meeting state accountability reporting requirements. Data elements include date of birth, race/ethnicity, gender, program participation including status related to English language proficiency or special education, performance on state assessments, as well as students who qualify for free/reduced priced meals. Any KSDE reports with student data are first aggregated into groups, such as district and building level data, before disseminated; no student level data are shared.1 The adoption of the CCSS has no impact on the State’s data collection requirements. The KSDE DOES NOT collect information on political affiliations or beliefs; sexual behavior or attitudes; religious practices, affiliations or beliefs or income of the student or family. Furthermore, the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act protects the privacy of student education records.2


Fact 2 – Kansas Assessments. Kansas has worked with the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas for over 30 years to fulfill summative evaluation goals for K-12 public education.3 The Center has continually analyzed and revised their bank of assessment test items for quality and security purposes. Rigorous assessment necessitates that some degree of new items and tests will always be needed. At present, Kansas is collaborating with a consortium of states, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)4 to develop new assessments for mathematics and English language arts standards. Because Kansas is a governing state in SBAC, the state has a vote on all major decisions. The SBAC has no membership fees – a significant savings to our state and those in the consortium. Over one million students participated in the field test of items in the spring 2013 and another million are anticipated to participate in spring 2014.


1 See KSDE Fact Sheet on Data Collection and Common Core

3 CETE and Kansas Assessment Program

   4 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)

Publication of the  

Kansas PTA Advocacy Leadership (2013).

Karen Wagner

Brian Hogsett

Mary Sinclair, PhD