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Data Elements for Students Who Are Transgender

Data Elements for Students Who Are Transgender


A student who is transgender is a student whose gender identity is different from what is assumed based on their sex assigned at birth, and/or whose gender expression is different from the way certain genders are stereotypically expected to look or behave. In this sense, transgender serves as an umbrella term for a variety of gender identities and expressions with which a student may identify.

Data Element Information

The following demographic data elements may be altered for students who are transgender:

  • Name: When a WISEid is created for a student, a first and last name is required. After a WISEid is created, and upon the request of the parent and student, the student’s name can be changed by the LEA to reflect the student’s chosen name that aligns with the student’s identity. In these situations, there is no requirement that the student’s name be changed through a court decree (legal name change).
    • The decision to change the name on record is a local policy decision. It is important to talk with students and parents about the implications of printing the preferred name on a student record or transcript if the student is not planning on changing their name legally. When universities or employers ask for a student record or transcript, the student will want to ensure that they can prove the record or transcript is theirs, which could be problematic if a legal name change does not occur. 
    • When a name change occurs, the name associated with the WISEid may be different from the first and last name stored in an LEA’s student information system. To ensure that this change appears across all areas (WISEdash, Assessments, ACT), the student’s WISEid profile must be updated.
    • Please work with your SIS to ensure the name change is updating in the correct field to flow into WISEid and WISEdata. Some vendors have multiple name fields, such as a Protected Identity field. You will need to work with your SIS to understand which name fields flow into WISE to ensure the name is being updated appropriately in all of our applications.

    • You can retain the former name in your SIS for local record-keeping, but you need to do so in a name field that does not flow to WISEid or WISEdata. If you think the name has been updated correctly in your SIS but the former name still shows in our applications, please work to correct this with your SIS support.

    • If the WISEid chosen name update is for a student who is transferring or previously transferred from a different Wisconsin LEA, the WISEid system generates a change request in which the previous LEA must approve. In these situations, please submit a WISEsupport Ticket to override the WISEid change approval process prior to making the WISEid change.
      • NOTE: Select “WISEid” in the Application field and for the Description of the Issue simply put “Request override of change request approval.” Never include the student’s name in the WISEsupport ticket.
  • Gender: Gender codes are used for a wide range of public reporting and accountability purposes. The LEA should update the gender marker at the request of the parent and student. Birth certificates may not be requested.

Helpful Details and Use Cases

  • The LEA can proceed with the WISEid student name change by the request from one custodial parent. This is true whether the parents are married, separated, or divorced as long as the parent providing the request has educational decision-making authority for the student.
    • In defining “parent,” current federal regulations require that when more than one party under the definition qualifies to act as a parent, the biological or adoptive parent attempting to act as the parent must be presumed to be the parent unless that person does not have legal authority to make educational decisions for the child.
  • The decision regarding how to mark the gender of a student who is transgender is a decision that the student and the family makes. Keep in mind that gender identification may be fluid, meaning that students may change how they identify at any point during the school year.
  • ACT testing and Forward Testing use the student’s WISEid name (and not a name stored as “Other” or “Nickname.”) If the student’s former name is appearing on testing labels, it means the name has not been updated on the student’s WISEid profile.
  • DPI currently collects the gender types of male, female, and non-binary.

Certified/Snapshot Data

At the time of the student data snapshot, the WISEdata Portal value will be the value pulled into WISEdash and used in the snapshot collection. If a student’s WISEid name or gender is changed after the snapshot, it will appear correctly in any “current” data view but would appear as it was prior to the snapshot for that school year.

Additional Resources

Creating safe and supportive school environments for all youth, including those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) is essential for their educational success. For more information, please see DPI’s page on Safe Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students.

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