NASSP Issues Policy Recommendations to Safeguard Student Data
Reston, Va. – NASSP has issued policy recommendations to address principals’ concerns over student data privacy and to ensure the protection and appropriate use of student data.
The recommendations, created by a working group of principals, come at a time of heightened concern about the privacy of student data. When students use email and apps, third party vendors collect their information—and there is apprehension over what those entities are doing with that data. And the days of filing cabinets are waning: 95% of districts now rely on cloud services for a diverse range of functions, including data mining related to student performance, support for classroom activities, student guidance, and more.
The security of this sensitive information isn’t necessarily guaranteed, potentially opening highly private information about discipline infractions, special needs, and mental health issues up to inappropriate access. Many educators feel that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects the privacy of student education records, is not evolving well enough to remain effective.
“NASSP encourages the many benefits of using technology in education, as technology-enhanced instruction can empower students to lead their own learning, connect them with countless resources, and allow them to collaborate across time and space,” said NASSP Advocacy Director Amanda Karhuse, who facilitated the creation of the recommendations. “But we also have an obligation to safeguard the sensitive data that is a byproduct of those activities.”
NASSP also believes that the use of student data is valuable, as it can help educators identify and provide supports to at-risk students and assist teachers in improving their instructional practices.
At its November meeting, the NASSP’s Board of Directors stated its intent to adopt the recommendations. Following a 60-day comment period, the board will consider final adoption of the recommendations during its February 2015 meeting at NASSP Conference Ignite ’15 in San Diego, CA.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.