As massive amounts of educational data can now be stored, and student’s information can be tracked from pre-K to college, parents and privacy advocates are raising concerns about the misuse of the data.
According to a new report by the National Academy of Education, if sensible information, like behavior problems or test scores, is not handled properly, students might face limited future opportunities.
Addressing these concerns, state congresses have pushed legislatures that set limits on how much data can be collected and shared for research and commercial purposes.
Research organizations must work to inform stakeholders of the importance of their data for high-quality research, which in turn provides evidence for policy makers, ensuring that students get good education.
The study provides a useful framework for communicating a research project to stakeholders, called CUPS:
- Collection: What is collected, by whom, and from whom?
- Use: How will the data be used? What is the purpose of the research?
- Protection: What are the security protections for the data and how will access to the data be restricted?
- Sharing: How and with whom will the results of the data be shared? Will the data be shared for other purposes?
In addition, researchers need to hold to standards for the knowledge they possess. Specifically, they should know:
- How to use and protect data
- Current laws and policies governing privacy
- Privacy concerns of students, parents, and stakeholders
- How to address privacy concerns
- How to communicate the benefits of research
- What they don’t know, so that they can ask for help
Using these tools, experts can get quality data with the aim to improve teaching and learning, while ensuring that privacy concerns are fully addressed.