The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction shall assign each student and educator a WISEid, a unique, permanent, and unduplicated identifier. This 10-digit numeric field is required for all reported students and for educators who will be reported in Roster. For continuing students, the WISEid is identical to the existing WSN generated from the Wisconsin Student Locator System (WSLS).
In addition to the legal name of each student enrolled or staff member entered, public school districts will also supply WISEid with other data, such as the student's gender, race, birth date, and at least one parent/guardian name. This information will prevent data collectors from confusing people with identical names, similarly-spelled names, or aliases, for example, multiple David Smiths. WISEid does not require birth certificates or other documentation, but districts might do so, though they may not photocopy them.
WISEid recommends, but does not require, additional data, such as place of birth, nicknames, and more parent/guardian names. The additional data will help ensure that WISEids are unique and that existing WISEids are retained when students or staff move between schools. No personal contact information, such as addresses, phone numbers, or social security numbers, is collected or used by the system.
USES: WISEids help in identifying students and staff and in maintaining unique records for individual students and staff.
FAQs, Details, and Points to Note
- WISEid Security: Districts use WISEids instead of names to submit data about student educational progress, such as attendance, grade level placement, dropout, graduation credentials, or acquisition of English proficiency, in addition to demographic data necessary to meet mandated disaggregation requirements. The assigned number has no embedded meaning. Use of WISEids in lieu of names helps protect student privacy and facilitate reporting.
- WISEids are encrypted before storage at DPI to provide an extra measure of privacy. Student progress data, always confidential, are attached to encrypted WISEids rather than to student names, and are then stored in a secure location on the network. Confidential data is accessible only to legally authorized persons with legitimate educational interests. WISEids should continue to be treated as confidential by districts.
- Districts are expected to treat the WISEid as an educational record that is protected because the WISEid is a key to personally identifiable confidential data and other sensitive information. The WISEid is not directory data and should not be treated as directory data. However, it can be shared as other confidential or protected educational data is shared as determined by the school board. To the effect of educational records, DPI has to to apply policy 4.300 Student Data Access Policy, which covers these exceptions in detail, as well as the accompanying Student data access policy and procedures guidebook. In these situations the district is responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal privacy laws and all district regulations, policies, and procedures established to maintain the confidentiality of the WISEids.
- Submitting Data Over the Internet: If data files containing confidential/sensitive student data are sent over the internet, then encryption, authentication, logins and passwords should be used to protect privacy. Normally this means using a file upload site using SSL that users would authenticate to before uploading a file. Users would have a unique ID assigned to them to authenticate the file upload application. Because the application would be using SSL, all packets for all users would be encrypted. This solution would be fairly simple to implement and would greatly increase the security of the file transmission.
- Use of email is not recommended. If email is used, zipping and password protection should be considered, but this method does not meet expectations for encryption and authentication. Even though the files themselves are password protected, the packets they are transferred in are not encrypted.
- Once obtained, the file can be accessed using a simple Password Recovery tool. Sending a flash drive or CD via U.S. mail is an acceptable alternative given existing practices, laws, and consequences, and use of extra USPS services to protect privacy should also be considered.
- WISEids, Student Names, and Statewide Testing: As a general rule, student names and WISEids will not appear together on printed versions of statewide test performance reports. Wisconsin testing contractors may ask districts to provide WISEids and student names together in student data files or on test books. Both the WISEid and the student name are needed in order to make sure student names appear on individual student reports and to make sure the data can be stored electronically using the WISEid in lieu of the student's name. Because the names are critical, our contractor cannot rely on the WISEid alone. The WISEid provided by districts may be invalid or incorrect for the student's WISEid.
- Note, privacy provisions are included in DPI contracts with CTB and MetriTech. If data files containing confidential/sensitive student data are sent over the internet, then encryption, authentication, logins, and passwords should be used to protect privacy. For more information, see Submitting Data over the Internet section above. If confidential/sensitive student data are bubbled on test books, then it may be necessary for district staff to provide access to WISEids with student names attached for restricted use by a limited number of locally authorized staff in accordance with district policy. Districts authorize staff to bubble data on the test books. Some of the data is more sensitive than other data. OEA recommends that district staff bubble confidential/sensitive data (including the WISEid) after completion of testing.
- ACCESS testing can be handled in a similar manner. WISEids and other confidential data should not be included on the test books while students are taking tests. If this information is bubbled after testing then districts can more easily control who has access to the relevant confidential/sensitive data. In this way, districts can also better control the quality of the data bubbled. In the end, it is up to districts to decide how to do this task most efficiently while still protecting student privacy. It is necessary for some staff to know which student name goes with which WISEid in order to do their jobs.
- DPI is also asking all school districts to include the WISEid on all student transcripts being sent to Wisconsin colleges and universities. Long-term this will enable education stakeholders to track students through the next stage of their educational careers and facilitate significant improvements in research and reporting.
Student Definition: This entity represents an individual for whom instruction, services, and/or care are provided in an early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, education agency or other institution or program. A student is a person who has been enrolled in a school or other educational institution.
For more information, see WISEid FAQs.
Submit questions, comments, and suggestions about WISEdata to the DPI Online Helpdesk Application.