UMass EAB data request

Todd Feathers filed this request with the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) of Massachusetts.
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Todd Feathers

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

1) An up-to-date report from the university's Education Advisory Board (EAB) system documenting undergraduate students' predicted risk scores, broken down in aggregate by the following categories:
- Race
- Gender
- Major
- GPA Group
- Race AND Gender
- Race AND Major
- Race AND Gender AND Major
- Race AND GPA group
- Race AND Gender AND GPA group

This data is stored in the university's EAB system as part of the Student Success Collaborative tool and can easily be searched and compiled into reports, as demonstrated by the attached example document provided by the University of Houston in response to a similar public records request for data from its EAB system. Please note that I am not requesting any personally identifying information, but rather aggregate data for the aforementioned groups.

2) All predictive model reports and threshold reports provided to the university by EAB as part of the Student Success Collaborative product.

I ask that all fees be waived as I am a journalist and I intend to use the requested records to publish articles in the public interest and not for any commercial purpose

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Todd Feathers

From: University of Massachusetts (Amherst)

Todd,
I am in receipts of your records as detail below and attached.

The Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. Ch. 66, § 10, along with its associated regulations, permits the University to estimate and assess the estimated cost of searching for the requested records or segregating exempt information from non-exempt information. I estimate that your request took less than four hours to complete and there will be no copying fee charged for this request. As a result there will be no fee.

Please see responsive records attached with additional details below:

Part 1:
Attached. We have not reported any numbers 20 or smaller in order to avoid identifying personal information. These are instead noted as n* because the request was that the data be stratified by multiple variables at once, which resulted in many values of 20 or less. The N's were too small to provide these tables:
Risk disaggregated further by
- Race AND Major
- Race AND Gender AND Major
- Race AND Gender AND GPA group

In the tables that are listed below, cells were suppressed to preserve student privacy.
Risk disaggregated further by
- Race
- Gender
- Major
- GPA Group
- Race AND Gender
- Race AND GPA group

An up-to-date report from the university's Education Advisory Board (EAB) system documenting undergraduate students' predicted risk scores, broken down in aggregate by the following categories:
- Race
- Gender
- Major
- GPA Group
- Race AND Gender
- Race AND Major
- Race AND Gender AND Major
- Race AND GPA group
- Race AND Gender AND GPA group

Part 2: Unable to Provide, per EAB. We do not have the materials/reports referred to in this portion of the request as they are provided by EAB. As such, I reached out to EAB for this information. Their response is below.
Request: All predictive model reports and threshold reports provided to the university by EAB as part of the Student Success Collaborative product.

Response from EAB: I have spoken with our legal team concerning the FOIA requests for 1) the up-to-date report concerning student predicted risk scores and 2) all validation studies or technical reports detailing EAB's unique predictive model for UMass Amherst. I have been asked to request that you withhold the second set of materials (i.e. model reports and threshold reports) from disclosure. Specifically, we believe that this information is proprietary and protected from disclosure under G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(g) as a trade secret that was voluntarily provided to assist UMass in making its policy decisions with promises of confidentiality in our contract that was not provided as part of our initial bid or was a condition for our being able to contract with UMass. We also believe that this is protected under G.L. c. 4, § 7(26)(u) as trade secret or proprietary information provided by EAB (a private concern) to UMass.

Under Chapter 66 of the General Laws, you have the right to appeal our disposition of your request to the Supervisor of Public Records, Office of the Secretary of State, pre@sec.state.ma.us<mailto:pre@sec.state.ma.us> and the right to seek judicial review of an unfavorable decision by commencing a civil action in the superior court under subsection (c) of section 10A.
Regards,
Christine

=================================
Christine M. Wilda
Associate Chancellor for Compliance
UMASS Amherst
340 Whitmore Building
Amherst, MA 01003
Ph: 413-545-2148
Fax: 413-545-2114
cwilda@umass.edu<mailto:cwilda@umass.edu>

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