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

Layout and Conventions

Even relatively minor ethical mistakes in an education organization can become high profile public eventsó something that schools, districts, and state education agencies should try to avoid.

Each ethical canon in this document is presented in the following manner:


A broad classification used to organize the canons in this document. The categories (personal/professional integrity, data quality, and security) can be thought of as the overarching drivers of ethical behavior. These categories are used to organize the document’s content, and there is overlap across categories.


The core ethical principle being presented and discussed.


An example that illustrates how an ethical canon is relevant to the real world. These fictional examples cite various settings and circumstances related to data handlers because this group has been identified as the Guide’s primary audience.


An explanation of the canon that provides context for understanding the ethical principles being addressed.

Recommended Practices and Training:

A bulleted list of activities and tasks that would contribute to achieving the ethical principles represented by the canon. The lists of recommended practices are illustrative rather than exhaustive, and they are intended to represent some of the most fundamental activities that can be undertaken to advance a canon.