Portable Education Data, One Click Away

April 15, 2012

Announced in January, the "MyData button" is a joint effort by the U.S Education Department and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. It seeks to give students access to their own learning data by encouraging schools, colleges, and software companies that store student information to make it available in portable, machine-readable formats. Students would go online to click on a button to download their data, which they could plug into applications created by third-party developers.

For example, students could download their financial-aid award offers and then use comparison-shopping tools to weigh their options at different universities.

The project is just beginning, and it's not yet clear what kinds of data might eventually be included. Here are a few of the companies that are taking part in the effort:

Educational Testing Service: standardized-test scores, through a partnership with an online education company called StraighterLine.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: performance data from the textbook publisher's platform.

Parchment Inc.: online storage space for education credentials like transcript information.

Pearson Education: learning records and grade books from its platforms.