Strategies for Handling ‘Opt-Out’

Organization: National Center for Education Statistics
Published: March 1, 2016

In response to data security concerns, many states are considering ways to allow individuals to remove their personal information from certain statewide data collections or data products. Such “opt out” measures were included in 81 state student-privacy bills in 2015, 13 of which were signed into law. Additionally, the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) grants families some control over the release of specific student information, and additional measures related to student privacy are being discussed at the federal level. These regulations—and the variety of data-related activities they can cover—present challenges for statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) teams, who need to ensure that personal data are collected and used appropriately.  This brief provides an overview of the data collections and data uses that are often part of opt-out measures. It also examines strategies that states are developing to handle opt-out preferences in their SLDSs and ensure that data are properly managed.