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Forum Guide to Protecting the Privacy of Student Information: State and Local Education Agencies

4.E. Research Use Within an Agency

Sometimes the records manager will receive requests for research using education records, such as comparisons of the test scores of students in different programs. District policy or procedures should specify the steps in making and acting on such requests. The records manager may elect to have staff complete the analysis or contract with consultants to do the analysis. If a staff member conducts the analysis, it is important to determine if he or she is authorized to have access to personally identifiable student data. If not, the records manager may create a file containing the needed data without the students’ identifying information. This is a good way to protect confidentiality while allowing data to be used by contractors or outside researchers as well. The release of student data outside of the agency is discussed in more detail in section 6.