The recent emphasis on the importance of using student data to boost academic achievement is not without contention, and rightfully so. It is unsettling to know that personal information about your child is floating around, potentially landing in self-serving or harmful hands. Parents have every reason to be frightened by this prospect.
On the flip side, extensive research shows how having access to student data can help educators quickly identity at-risk students, pinpoint where and why they are struggling, and intervene purposefully. The high dropout rate coupled with increased class sizes makes this practice essential.
Tech companies like IO Education want to help educators effectively use data to serve students, but are conscious and concerned about the possible exploitation of the personal data necessary to run these interventions. That is why IO Education, along with a group of other education technology companies, have signed a pledge promising to safeguard all personal student data that they receive.
According to EdSurge1, through signing this pledge companies have agreed to do the following:
- Not sell student information
- Not target advertising based on behavior
- Use data for authorized education purposes only, and not retain student personal information beyond the requisite time frame for education purposes
- Not make “material changes” to privacy policies without notification and consent
- Enforce strict limits on data retention
- Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
- Provide comprehensive security standards
- Be transparent about collection and use of data
IO Education’s mission is to improve outcomes for students, and part of this entails ensuring that the students’ personal information is protected. Though IO Education already has stringent privacy policies in place and follows FERPA’s guidelines, we are pleased that a more widely recognized approach is being taken to hold companies accountably and reassure students and families.
Other companies who signed this pledge include Amplify, Code.org, DreamBox Learning, Edmodo, Follett Corporation, Gaggle, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knewton, Knovation, Lifetouch, Microsoft, myON and Think Through Learning (1EdSurge).
Read more about this pledge at studentprivacypledge.org.
By: Mary Conroy Almada