Student Data Privacy

District Resources

  • Protecting Student Privacy
    The U.S. Department of Education’s website to provide schools and school districts with best practices to use in their management of information about students. This site aims to assist stakeholders in protecting the privacy of students by providing official guidance on FERPA, technical best practices and the answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Privacy Contract Framework
    The Privacy Contract Framework will assist schools, districts, and state agencies in developing common contracts for districts to use throughout the state.
  • Forum Guide to Education Data Privacy
    The National Forum on Education Statistics (Forum) organized the Education Data Privacy Working Group to explore how state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) can support best practices at the school level to protect the confidentiality of student data in day-to-day instructional and administrative tasks. The Working Group created this guide in order to highlight common privacy issues related to the use of student data and to present basic approaches to managing those issues.
  • How do you Communicate the Data Message?
    Words matter. What you say, how you say it, and when you say it are critical to effectively communicating with your audience. DQC has crafted language and tools to help you better talk to peers, press, and the public about data and meeting education goals.
  • What is Student Data?
    There are many types of data that support student learning—and they’re so much more than test scores. However, individual data points don’t give the full picture needed to support the incredibly important education goals of parents, students, educators, and policymakers. See the types of data that can come together—under requirements like privacy and security—to form a full picture of student learning.
  • Data Breach Response Training Kit
    Any organization with electronic records is vulnerable to security breaches, and education agencies are no exception. The PTAC Data Breach Scenario is one of a series of exercises intended to assist schools, districts, and other educational organizations with internal data security training.
  • PTAC Toolkits
    The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) has developed a body of best practice resources to help education stakeholders, including State educational agencies, local education agencies, and the postsecondary education community involved in building and using education data systems, learn more about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data systems. The PTAC Toolkit is updated regularly with new resources, including case studies, webinars, checklists, technical briefs, issue briefs, and other useful information.
  • Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service
    This document is a framework for evaluating online “Terms of Service” agreements. This document is designed to assist educators, schools, and districts in understanding how an online service or application may collect, use, and/or transmit user information. The guidance will assist users in deciding whether or not to sign-up for specific services.

Training

  • FERPA 101: For Local Education Agencies
    The U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA training focused on K-12 schools, districts and local education agencies.
  • FERPA 201: Data Sharing under FERPA
    The U.S. Department of Education’s training focused on the intricacies of sharing data in compliance with FERPA requirements.
  • Email and Student Privacy
    Email is an easy way to communicate with students and parents. Prior to sending an email, it’s important to evaluate the risk associated with sending student information and recognizing if it is personally identifiable information (PII). This video walks you through best practices on how to email student information.
  • Developing a Privacy Policy for Your District
    This video provides an overview and rationale for why districts need to develop a program to protect student data.
  • How to Use your District’s Website to Communicate with Parents about Data Use and Security
    Parents need to feel confident that the education information collected and stored by your district is securely maintained and only used for educational purposes. This video highlights common parent questions, and provides best practices that districts can implement to communicate with parents about data privacy.
  • The A-B-C’s of Student Directory Information
    FERPA allows schools and districts to designate certain basic student information as directory information, and share that information without consent if certain additional requirements are met. This video describes why a school would want to use designated student directory information and the types of information that fall into this category. It also explains the process that schools and districts must adhere to when designating directory information.
  • Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services
    This Privacy Technical Assistance Center teacher training video is aimed at helping K-12 school officials to better protect student privacy while using online educational services and applications. The video, intended for use during teacher in-service days or professional development meetings, offers a short summary of the issue and provides some examples to help educators identify which online educational services and applications are privacy-friendly and protect student data from improper use and disclosure.

Parent & Student Resources

  • VIDEO: Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students
    This short video highlights the key points of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • What Every Parent Should Be Asking about Education Data
    The Data Quality Campaign provides parents the questions they should be asking their children’s educators about the value of education data and how student privacy is ensured.
  • School Volunteer Brochure
    The Privacy Technical Assistance Center has produced a brochure that schools can use to notify volunteers of their legal responsibilities to preserve student privacy.
  • VIDEO: What Parents Need to Know about their Student’s Data
    This video, intended for parents, provides guidance and information on what questions they might want to ask their schools or districts if they have questions about the data the district collects and/or maintains. The video also provides an overview of the types of questions parents should ask and why.
  • VIDEO: Student Privacy 101
    The Department of Education is committed to student privacy. We administer the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and we provide technical assistance to help schools and school districts use best practices in their use and management of information about students. This site aims to assist stakeholders in protecting the privacy of students by providing official guidance on FERPA , technical best practices and the answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Responsibility for the Department’s student privacy operations lies in the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer. To learn more about FERPA please click on the video to the right.

Legislation & Policy

  • Complying with FERPA and Other Federal Privacy and Security Laws
    In addition to understanding and complying with FERPA, states also have the responsibility to understand and comply with state data privacy and security laws, as well as other federal privacy laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to the extent that data subject to those laws are incorporated in the state educational data system.
  • FERPA/IDEA Cross-Walk Guide
    Side-by-side comparison of the primary legal provisions and definitions in IDEA Part B, IDEA Part C, and FERPA that relate to the requirement to protect the confidentiality of personally identifiable information of students and children served under the IDEA.
  • FERPA Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – Regulations
    Full text of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA gives parents certain rights regarding their children’s educational records.
  • Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
    The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) of 1978 is a law intended to protect the rights of pupils and the parents of pupils in programs funded by the United States Department of Education.

Additional Resources

  • DQC Roadmap to Safeguarding Student Data
    This highlights the three focus areas—transparency, governance, and data protection procedures—that will allow states to reach these goals and provides a robust list of other resources from DQC and other organizations related to safeguarding data.
  • Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Home Page
    PTAC provides timely information and updated guidance on privacy, confidentiality, and security practices through training materials and opportunities to receive direct assistance with privacy, security, and confidentiality of longitudinal data systems.
  • CoSN’s Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning
    The Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning toolkit is an in-depth, step-by-step guide to navigating the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and related privacy issues.
  •  Student Data Principles
    These are 10 Foundational Principles for Using and Safeguarding Student’s Personal Information.
  • Who Uses Student Data? (Video)
    Watch how student data—from schools to the US Department of Education—are and are not accessed and used.