How to Protect Student Behavior Data Better


Technology is being used more in the classroom and as a tool to engage the school community. School leaders are using these tools to evaluate overall school performance and activity which informs how they lead. Varying educational technology tools such as those that collect behavior data, attendance, and academic performance require security settings.

If a platform has any sharing features that allow school to family communication or the sharing of student information you should be aware of the platform security. Ensuring privacy for students and families is important and necessary. 

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In an effort to improve data collection and instructional evaluation and measure student success, these technologies are a unique way to gather and source data. School leaders are able to manage who has access to this information and protect external parties from getting information about their students. By communicating the privacy standards to the school, leaders are able to hold the school community and families accountable to security standards as well as choose technology partners and are committed to data security. 

All staff and students should be aware of how the data is collected, stored and used in school systems. Data privacy and security is about knowing the policies and sticking to the procedures. School administrators can address this by setting up their teachers and school staff to keep student behavior data secure. There are a few ways you can support these efforts in your school community.

3 Ways to Protect Student Behavior Data 

Privacy and Security Training 

School leaders should provide training on data security and privacy for teachers and staff. This will help teachers make informed choices about various platforms and how to identify secure privacy features. Additionally, they can learn more about habits to keep data secure like regularly changing passwords and keeping information off of personal cell phones. Training can provide guidance for teachers and parents on password management and provide instruction on appropriate data collection and use.

Security Policies

Schools and districts must institute schoolwide policies and procedures around password security, updating firewalls and leveraging authentication software for the data. School administrators can identify someone on staff to lead these efforts and ensure proper implementation. For example, this person should develop security permissions to limit access to information to different levels of school staff. This ensures that certain staff that need specific access get the appropriate permissions. For parents, this will require permission to collect specific types of data and confirm how this data will be used. Schools must also be aware of what tools teachers are using, and the security policies of those partners as well. 

Many districts have required security policies and practices. School leaders need to make sure that their staff are aware of the district compliance expectations so that personal technology, social media, and classroom tools are used in a secure way. 

Network Monitoring 

Key school staff should pay close attention to the network security and be prepared to proactively address a privacy breach or virus. The more systems that are connected, the more security will be necessary. A part of the monitoring is keeping backup data stored offline. This will keep the data secure if a virus attacks.

The school administrator is able to lead the data privacy and security efforts but they are not solely responsible for the protection of student data. This requires input and work from teachers, students and parents. School leaders are involved with setting up structures and the school community is responsible for adhering to the policies and procedures. This collective involvement helps to monitor data security. Ensuring student behavior data is kept secure is paramount for students and families.

Schools are legally responsible for keeping all student data secure and administrators will need to identify new ways to do this in the future. Awareness of federal and state laws like FERPA or state legislation that dictate which information should be kept most secure or how to develop secure partnerships with external providers is necessary. 

When collecting behavior data, note all of the student information that is collected. When working with a third party company to manage the data, carefully read the details of the contract and privacy policy. This helps to control buying or selling of data. 

Innovative technologies will continue to be integrated into instruction and school systems in the future, making the need for data privacy and security awareness critical.