National Education Groups Issue Principles to Guide the Use and Protection of Student Data

Reaffirm Shared Commitment to Securing Students’ Personal Information and Promoting Data Use in Service of Learning
Washington, DC
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Washington, DC (March 10, 2015) – The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), along with 32 leading national education organizations representing parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, state boards of education, chief technology officers and many others, today released 10 principles for protecting and guiding the use of the personal information of America’s students.

This announcement marks an historic, first-ever effort by major national education associations to articulate commonly held principles around the use and safeguarding of student data in education. To see the full list of supporters, please visit: http://studentdataprinciples.org/principles-supporters/.

“Educators will only gain the trust of parents and families if student information is used responsibly, ethically and only when necessary to benefit students. This is a very important effort by the education community to work together to articulate core beliefs and a commitment to building transparency and trust,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN.

“High-quality education data are critical to improving student achievement and success and to empowering educators and families. Ethical data use that safeguards student privacy is a critical component of effective data use. Everyone who uses data to help students achieve should adhere to and build upon these 10 principles,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, President and CEO of the Data Quality Campaign.

The 10 student data principles are:

  • Student data should be used to further and support student learning and success.
  • Student data are most powerful when used for continuous improvement and personalizing student learning.
  • Student data should be used as a tool for informing, engaging, and empowering students, families, teachers, and school system leaders.
  • Students, families, and educators should have timely access to information collected about the student.
  • Student data should be used to inform and not replace the professional judgment of educators.
  • Students’ personal information should only be shared, under terms or agreement, with service providers for legitimate educational purposes; otherwise the consent to share must be given by a parent, guardian, or a student, if that student is over 18. School systems should have policies for overseeing this process, which include support and guidance for teachers.
  • Educational institutions, and their contracted service providers with access to student data, including researchers, should have clear, publicly available rules and guidelines for how they collect, use, safeguard, and destroy those data.
  • Educators and their contracted service providers should only have access to the minimum student data required to support student success.
  • Everyone who has access to students’ personal information should be trained and know how to effectively and ethically use, protect, and secure it.
  • Any educational institution with the authority to collect and maintain student personal information should have a system of governance that:
    • have a system of governance that designates rules, procedures, and the individual or group responsible for decision-making regarding data collection, use, access, sharing, and security, and use of online educational programs;
    • have a policy for notification of any misuse or breach of information and available remedies;
    • maintain a security process that follows widely accepted industry best practices; and
    • provide a designated place or contact where students and families can go to learn of their rights and have their questions about student data collection, use, and security answered.

DQC and CoSN will continue to encourage organizations representing voices at all levels of the education system to sign on to the principles.

Many organizations, including DQC and CoSN, have been helping to build the capacity of educators and education leaders to use student data effectively and ethically and to collaborate and build trust with parents and policymakers. Access DQC’s suite of resources on safeguarding student data and using data to support student achievement at www.dataqualitycampaign.org.  

In 2014, CoSN launched the Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning initiative, which provides education leaders with resources to better understand and navigate today’s major federal laws.

To learn more about today’s announcement, please visit: www.studentdataprinciples.org  

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About CoSN

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam.

About the Data Quality Campaign

The Data Quality Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, national advocacy organization committed to realizing an education system in which all stakeholders—from parents to policymakers—are empowered with high quality data from early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and workforce systems. To achieve this vision, DQC supports policymakers and other key leaders to promote effective data use to ensure students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and the workplace. For more information, visit www.dataqualitycampaign.org.