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 Pub Number  Title  Date
NFES 2016096 Forum Guide to Education Data Privacy
The Forum Guide to Education Data Privacy was developed as a resource for state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) to use in assisting school staff in protecting the confidentiality of student data in instructional and administrative practices. SEAs and LEAs may also find the guide useful in developing privacy programs and related professional development programs.
7/7/2016
NCES 2012151 Statistical Methods for Protecting Personally Identifiable Information in the Disclosure of Graduation Rates of First-Time, Full-Time Degree- or Certificate-Seeking Undergraduate Students by 2-Year Degree-Granting Institutions of Higher Education
This Technical Brief provides guidance to Title IV 2-year degree-granting institutions in meeting the statutory disclosure requirement related to graduation rates while minimizing the risk of revealing the graduation status of individual students.
10/25/2011
NCES 2011608 National Institute of Statistical Sciences Data Confidentiality Technical Panel: Final Report
NCES asked the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) to convene a technical panel of survey and policy experts to examine the NCES current and planned data dissemination strategies for confidential data with respect to: mandates and directives that NCES make data available; current and prospective technologies for protecting and accessing confidential data, as well as for breaking confidentiality; and the various user communities for NCES data and these communities’ uses of the data. The principle goals of the technical panel were to review the NCES current and planned data dissemination strategies for confidential data, assessing whether these strategies are appropriate in terms of both disclosure risk and data utility, and then to recommend to NCES any changes that the task force deems desirable or necessary. The NISS technical panel delivered its report to NCES in 2008. The report included four principal recommendations, the first three of which confirmed existing NCES strategies and practices:

  1. The technical panel recommended that all NCES analyses and publications be based on restricted databases produced by applying data swapping operations to original data as collected and edited.
  2. The technical panel also recommended that access to restricted databases be controlled under license from NCES.
  3. The panel recommended that NCES produce public databases whenever possible (by applying further appropriate statistical disclosure limitation techniques) and provide access to the public databases electronically by means of a data access system (DAS).
  4. Furthermore the panel recommended that NCES tailor the user interfaces of data access systems to user communities.
3/10/2011
NCES 2011603 Statistical Methods for Protecting Personally Identifiable Information in Aggregate Reporting
This Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Technical Brief examines what protecting student privacy means in a reporting context. To protect a student’s privacy, the student’s personally identifiable information must be protected from public release. When schools, districts, or states publish reports on students’ educational progress, they typically release aggregated data—data for groups of students—to prevent disclosure of information about an individual. However, even with aggregation, unintended disclosures of personally identifiable information may occur. Current reporting practices are described and each is accompanied by an example table that is used to consider whether the intended protections are successful.

The Brief also illustrates that some practices work better than others in protecting against disclosures of personally identifiable information about individual students. Each data protection practice requires some loss of information. The challenge rests in identifying practices that protect information about individual students, while at the same time minimizing the negative impact on the utility of the publicly reported data. Drawing upon the review and analysis of current practices, the Brief concludes with a set of recommended reporting rules that can be applied in reports of percentages and rates that are used to describe student outcomes to the public. These reporting rules are intended to maximize the amount of detail that can be safely reported without allowing disclosures from student outcome measures that are based on small numbers of students.

NCES welcomes comments on the recommended reporting rules.
12/21/2010
NCES 2011601 Basic Concepts and Definitions for Privacy and Confidentiality in Student Education Records
This Technical Brief discusses basic concepts and definitions that establish a common set of terms related to the protection of personally identifiable information, especially in education records in the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS). This Brief also outlines a privacy framework that is tied to Fair Information Practice Principles that have been promulgated in both the United States and international privacy work.
11/23/2010
NCES 2011602 Data Stewardship: Managing Personally Identifiable Information in Student Education Records
This Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Technical Brief focuses on data stewardship, which involves each organization’s commitment to ensuring that privacy, confidentiality, security, and the appropriate use of data are respected when personally identifiable information is collected. Data stewardship involves all aspects of data collection, from planning, collection and maintenance to use and dissemination. The Brief also discusses internal control procedures that should be implemented to protect personally identifiable information, including the use of unique student identifiers and linking codes, workforce security, authorization for access, role based access to student record data, permitted uses, and the handling of data breaches. This Brief concludes with a discussion of accountability and auditing, including an overview of the types of audit activities that can be implemented to ensure that all stages of data stewardship have been successfully implemented.
11/23/2010
NFES 2010801 The Forum Guide to Data Ethics
Each and every day, educators collect and use data about students, staff, and schools. Some of these data originate in individual student and staff records that are confidential or otherwise sensitive. And even those data that are a matter of public record, such as aggregate school enrollment, need to be accessed, presented, and used in an ethically responsible manner. While laws set the legal parameters that govern data use, ethics establish fundamental principles of "right and wrong" that are critical to the appropriate management and use of education data in the technology age. This guide reflects the experience and judgment of experienced data managers; while there is no mandate to follow these principles, the authors hope that the contents will prove a useful reference to others in their work.

This guide contains:
  • Canons-core ethical principles
  • Vignettes--example that illustrates how an ethical canon is relevant to the real world
  • Discussion--an explanation of the canon that provides context for understanding the ethical principles being addressed
  • Recommended Practices and Training
2/26/2010
NFES 2006805 Forum Guide to the Privacy of Student Information: A Resource for Schools
This guide was written to help school and local education agency staff to better understand and apply FERPA, a federal law that protects privacy interests of parents and students in student education records.
6/29/2006
NCES 2005160 Feasibility of a Student Unit Record System Within the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
This report describes the feasibility of collecting individual enrollment and financial aid information for each student in postsecondary education. NCES held three public meetings with key stakeholders from institutions, states and other interested parties to get feedback on such issues as burden, cost, and privacy, and to solicit information on other technical aspects of developing such a unit record system. This report details the issues discussed in these meetings. This feasibility study is an important step to determine the problems that may be encountered and the issues to be addressed if Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System were redesigned to replace five current IPEDS surveys with a unit record system.
3/21/2005
NCES 200201 Legal and Ethical Issues in the Use of Video in Education Research
This working paper focuses on current legal regulations and ethical guidelines that govern the use of video techniques in education research, and the adequacy of these codes in a changing technological environment. This paper provides a synopsis of ethical and legal guidelines, points out possible issues to be addressed by the professional and legal communities, and provides key suggestions for education researchers using video as a data collection tool.
1/23/2002
NCES 2000363 Privacy Issues in Education Staff Records
This short report discusses key concepts in protecting and managing information in staff records. This handbook does not provide legal guidelines, but does address the federal Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts and offers principles of best practice.
2/14/2000
NCES 98297 Safeguarding Your Technology
These guidelines are written to help educational administrators and staff at the buildings, campus, district, and state levels. This handbook presents why and how to effectively secure an organization's sensitive information, critical systems, computer equipment, and network access.
9/22/1998
NCES 97949 Proteccio´n de la Confidencialidad del Expediente Acade´mico de los Estudiantes
Los expedientes academicos de sus hijos estan protegidos por la Ley de Derechos de la Familia en la Educacion y la Confidencialidad (FERPA, por sus siglas en ingles). Este folleto le explica a los padres y estudiantes sus derechos bajo esta ley.
4/14/1998
NCES 97527 Protecting the Privacy of Student Records: Guidelines for Education Agencies
The primary purpose of this document is to help state and local education agencies and schools develop adequate policies and procedures to protect information about students and their families from improper release, while satisfying the need for school officials to make sound management, instructional, and service decisions.
7/29/1997
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