The project team maintains the database on a secure computer in secured facilities. The computer is not networked or connected to the internet. Member institutions transmit data to the MIDFIELD data steward via password-protected, encrypted DVDs sent via registered, next-day FedEx. These DVDs are stored in a locked filing cabinet in a secure office. Only the MIDFIELD data steward has access to these discs. Identifiers are created especially for MIDFIELD. They are not Social Security Numbers or student IDs.
To protect the confidentiality of both students and institutions, researchers outside the central team will never handle raw institutional data. Reports aggregated by student and institution will be made available. If institutional identification is needed (e.g., to study policy differences), they will be conducted by the central team.
The project team obtains confidentiality agreements from all those who have access to the data, including those who only see aggregated data. No individually identifiable data are released. Data from partner universities are placed in a common format, so MIDFIELD can be used for cross-institutional studies. The common format further protects the identity of students.
Memoranda of Understanding and Researcher Confidentiality Agreements are stored in a locked filing cabinet in a secure office.
The core of MIDFIELD is comprised of four SAS datasets:
Student File: Demographic data and pre-college academic/standardized test perfromance. This file is made up of one record for each undergraduate, degree-seeking student.
Term File: Information about student performance. This file is made up of one record per enrolled term per undergraduate, degree-seeking student.
Course File: A history of course taken and grades received. This file is made up of one record per course per term per undregraduate, degree-seeking student.
Graduation File: Degrees awarded. This file is made up of one record per baccalaureate degree per undergraduate, degree-seeking students.
A translation table for the MIDFIELD Major and Group variable can be found here.