Ensuring privacy and security when sharing more data
Privacy and security will be a key concern as school leaders share greater amounts of student data and teachers use new instructional tools.
If leaders do not protect data, families may not trust in the information provided, says the Data Quality Campaign’s “Maintaining Trust as Data Use Changes Student Data Privacy and the COVID-19 Crisis” report.
To start, states must determine what information parents need to find the data trustworthy and feel confident student data is being protected.
State education leaders must also determine how to securely integrate new types of information that is being collected during the COVID shift to online learning.
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States can help districts work with vendors and other service providers to ensure student data is secure across various instructional tools.
“Selecting service providers that adhere to data privacy and security best practices has always been a challenge for districts, so it is critical that state leaders take steps to help make these decisions more straightforward for those who are juggling multiple priorities and may not have the time or expertise to vet services adequately,” the Data Quality Campaign says.
Connecticut’s Department of Education, for example, hosts a student data privacy webpage that includes sample emails that district leaders can send to vendors.
State leaders must also be prepared to update and adjust policies as teachers and educators will likely need to use data in new, unanticipated ways.
To achieve this, they must include diverse perspectives such as the voices of students who have been disproportionately impacted by the shift to online instruction.