Transparency advocates say Colorado hides too much data on school performance in name of student privacy

The Denver Post: Transparency advocates say Colorado is hiding too much information about how schools perform, but state education officials counter that they’re just following laws to protect student privacy.

There’s no dispute that how much information can be found about how students are performing in local school depends a great deal on the size and composition of the student body. The question is whether the trade-off is necessary to protect student privacy.

A report from the Colorado Right to Know Coalition found the state didn’t release information about how students who qualified for free and reduced-price lunches were performing on state standardized tests in one out of every four schools. Some schools also lacked information by racial group, English language learner status and, in very small student bodies, grade level.

Van Schoales, president of A+ Colorado, a coalition partner, said the state hasn’t shown any real-world examples of people using the data to identify specific children. The coalition supports suppressing scores when an individual student could be identified, he said, but parents need to know how well schools are serving children in their kid’s subgroups.

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