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The Forum Guide to Data Ethics
NCES 2010-801
March 2010

The Integrity Canons

School districts use data in countless ways, and data–related integrity issues arise quite frequently. For example, in just one grading period, a school district dealt with several concerns related to professional integrity:

  • A parent who had requested that his child's directory information not be disclosed by the school received a commercial advertisement that clearly referenced data that had been collected as a part of the school registration process.
  • A school guidance counselor used a few isolated pieces of information to make broad generalizations about a student's educational and career potential.
  • A well-respected charitable organization requested access to confidential data to help identify students who might benefit from its help and services.
  • A local school received a high profile national award based on erroneous data
    and faulty analysis.
  • A school administrator wanted to manipulate data in a legal but misleading manner to help improve the district's public image.
How should staff respond to these situations?
What principles should guide this decisionmaking?