Empowered with the right data, teachers can better track their students’ progress and target interventions, and parents can a get a more substantive, timely account of how their kids are doing. When education stakeholders are using data to inform their judgment at all levels, student achievement grows. But to make this possible, the use of data must be aligned to the needs of teachers, parents, students and policymakers. And the privacy, security and confidentiality of data must be safeguarded.
All of us in education must do more to make sure that we are transparent — especially with parents — about what data are collected, who has access to them, how they are used and what efforts are undertaken to protect privacy and keep the data secure. A recent study by the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham University analyzes how some school districts across the country address privacy concerns when using third-party “cloud computing” services, finding a number of deficiencies in contracting and creating practices that prioritize protecting student data.