In this thesis, I explore the ethics of educational data collection associated with standardized testing in K-12 schools in the United States. While the public has become aware of issues surrounding data collection, distribution, and analysis in online spaces, this discourse has not fully extended into education. I extend the discourse surrounding consumer data privacy to educational spaces in order to investigate how standardized testing organizations such as the College Board violate norms of privacy in an effort to profit off of the sale of student data. I argue that the College Board’s operation of the Student Search Service, a service that not only provides students with marketing outreach from universities but also provides universities and other organizations with large quantities of student data, is an example of surveillance capitalism that enables predatory marketing practices surrounding the college admissions process. I rely upon historical research, policy analysis, primary source research, and interviews in order to analyze the actions of the College Board and connect those actions to predatory practices within higher education, delving into a discussion of enrollment management, predatory lending, and for-profit colleges. Ultimately, I outline a need for greater transparency around organizational data practices, greater enforcement of existing regulations, and enactment of new privacy laws in order to minimize the potential for harm on K-12 students in the United States.
About Roya Moussapour
Roya Moussapour is a researcher and designer committed to increasing access to educational opportunities for historically marginalized and excluded populations of students. She currently leads research and continuous improvement at Lumen Learning, a company using open educational resources to deliver low-cost textbook solutions and professional learning opportunities within higher education.
While pursuing her master's degree within CMS, Roya worked at the Teaching Systems Lab designing and implementing unique methods for K-12 teacher learning. She also holds a B.A. in Physics from Bowdoin College. In her spare time, Roya plays violin in the Boston chapter of the Me2/Orchestra, an ensemble with a mission to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness through performance and outreach.
Roya holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physics with a minor in Education from Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin, she conducted research in both experimental physics and education and spent time working with students in Maine public schools. Prior to attending MIT, Roya worked at Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm in Boston, providing data analysis and research for litigation and labor matters in the aviation and energy industries.
At MIT, Roya works in the Teaching Systems Lab, exploring and developing unique methods for teacher learning. Outside of her academic pursuits, Roya serves as concertmaster of the Boston chapter of the Me2/Orchestra, an ensemble with a mission to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness through performance and outreach.