Ministry answers principal's security doubts

The Ministry of Education answers school principal's queries on the security of information maintained by PaCT monitoring tool

The Ministry of Education has provided answers to a Northland school principal’s misgivings on the security and privacy of information maintained by PaCT (Progress and Consistency Tool), and information system designed to monitor overall student progress against national standards.

Pat Newman, principal of Hora Hora School in Whangarei asked the ministry spokesperson at a presentation in March about

  • security of data “especially if it is sucked into ENROL [the national electronic enrolment management system] as we were told would almost certainly happen.”
  • Ownership of the data
  • What rights parents have to not have their child’s data included in PaCT.

Rowena Phair, deputy secretary schooling, has provided the answers Newman says were lacking at the presentation:

“PaCT will include security mechanisms to ensure information can only be accessed by those authorised to see it,” she says. “An independent security company is working alongside the developers to test and ensure information is safe.”

Despite the impression Newman gained at the presentation, “data from PaCT is not being exported to ENROL”, Phair says.

“As with all assessment data, students and their parents or guardians own their data in PaCT, with schools acting as the custodian of their data. It will be up to boards of trustees and school leaders to set out who will have access to individual student data.

“The Ministry will only be able to access anonymised information for analysis. This analysis will help it ensure policies are working as intended and are supporting schools and teachers to achieve more equitable outcomes, raising achievement for every student and especially for priority students.”

PaCT draws together a range of assessment information to help teachers make their overall teacher judgements, Phair says. “Schools will be able to use information from it and other sources to help students understand their progress and involve parents in discussions about how well their children are doing and how they can work together to support next learning steps.

“Schools may choose to support those discussions with detailed information from assessment activities they have undertaken such as results from assessment tools or samples of student work.”

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