Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - Almanac Vol. 58, No. 14
As the Semester Ends, Know the Basics about Student Records
Have you asked yourself any of the following questions?
- May I share a student's grades with her parents?
- May I leave graded exams outside a door for students to pick up?
- May I post class lists on the web?
- May I destroy copies of old grade sheets?
- May I discuss a student's academic performance with his advisor?
If you have, then you have recognized that there are "do's" and "don'ts" involved in the handling of student data. Student records are protected by the federal FERPA law. They may be shared with school officials with "legitimate educational interests" - i.e., where the information would be helpful in the performance of official duties. In many other situations, however, such as posting class lists on the web, student records may not be shared without the student's consent.
Penn's "Policy on Confidentiality of Student Records" can be viewed at www.upenn.edu/privacy/. In addition, a concise module covering FERPA basics is available through the Knowledge Link learning management system. To view this module, developed by the highly regarded SANS Institute (www.sans.org), contact your Local Support Provider, who will request access on your behalf from Penn's Information Security Office. If you're unsure who your support provider is, visit www.upenn.edu/computing/view/support/ Once you have access, you can log in at knowledgelink.upenn.edu
Questions about student privacy can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org