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How do parents really feel about student data?

A new survey gathers surprising insight on parents' opinions about student data gathering, use, and protection.

Ask many public school parents about student data use and privacy, and you’ll likely end up with a heated debate about protecting sensitive, personal information. But what do parents really understand about school technology use and student data privacy?

The Future of Privacy Forum set out to do just that in 2015 and 2016, and surveys revealed that while parents understood the technologies used in their children’s schools, they were less informed about specific laws and practices that pertain to protecting student information.

As technology becomes more prevalent in classrooms, parents say they support technology’s increasing prevalence in classrooms, as long as they are informed about how their children’s information is gathered and used.

FPF’s report indicates parents are the most comfortable with student information use when it is used to directly improve teaching and learning.

Parents said they believe the most convincing reasons to use individual student information are to identify students who are struggling and who would benefit from earlier additional support (85 percent), to personalize learning according to each student’s strengths and weaknesses (82 percent), and to help schools build profiles on individual students for predictions such as best vocations or professions (57 percent).

(Next page: Student data recommendations for educators and policymakers)

Laura Ascione

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