By Paul Basken | The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 3, 2010
The Bush administration spent years, without much success, trying to win support for a national database to track the academic progress of individual college students. The Obama administration may now be making progress by emphasizing action at the state level.
At least 31 states are operating student databases with at least some college participation, up from just 12 in 2005, according to a November survey by the Data Quality Campaign, an association of state-government officials and education-policy groups. Another survey, scheduled to be released early this year by the State Higher Education Executive Officers organization, counts at least 45 states keeping some individual records on college students.
"It is clear that this agenda is moving forward, despite opposition from the private colleges," says Peter T. Ewell, vice president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, which specializes in data-driven consulting. "The accountability push is such that these numbers are just simply going to be produced, whether anyone likes it or not."