News

5 key steps to safeguarding student data

By Ray Ackerlund
September 12th, 2014

Understanding data can improve student performance and lead to greater productivity for administrators and teachers; here’s how to protect this information

safeguard-dataToday, more than 90 percent of school districts electronically store data on everything from student demographics and course enrollment, to attendance and test scores on statewide assessments.

As uses of student data continue to expand, districts must be prepared to protect this information and ensure it’s only used for its intended purpose: to help students succeed. Here are five things school districts can do to safeguard their student data.

1. Understand the difference between data privacy and security.

Protecting student data should involve two elements: privacy and security. While there have been more nationwide discussions about student data privacy, securing student information is equally important.

Data privacy can be described as the appropriate use of student information. In essence, how are the data being used? On the other hand, data security refers to the confidentiality and availability of student information. In other words: Who is using the data? To protect student data, school districts should have an understanding of both of these terms and their implications.

(Next page: Steps 2-5)