Student Data and Consent Policies: Avoiding Unintended Consequences

Organization: Data Quality Campaign
Published: October 1, 2014

Schools use data for different purposes, which have different degrees of impact on a student’s educational experience: administrative, instructional, assessment and measurement, and optional/non-educational. To the extent feasible, parental choice policies should be structured according to the use of the data in question.

Parents should have more choice for activities in which opting out will not have a negative impact on their child’s education, like data collection for non-educational purposes such as marketing for yearbooks or class rings. It is not feasible, however, to allow parents to limit the data schools collect about their child for administrative, instructional, or assessment and measurement purposes because it would hinder or minimize the impact of data’s use to improve student achievement and would strain everyday school functions.

Student Data and Consent Policies: Avoiding Unintended Consequences is part of the Data Quality Campaign’s Safeguarding Data Briefs for Policymakers, which provide key facts and recommendations that address high-priority issues that have characterized student data privacy conversations.