Student privacy includes praise for high grades
It may sound like a petty issue but, to some, disclosure of student data is serious business. When students receive their grades or test scores, word spreads quickly among the students by mouth and text message. It’s no secret at school who are the A students and who are not.
However, state laws restrict teachers and administrators from announcing the names and grades of students without their prior consent. A Northfield High School teacher in Minnesota recently posted the names and grades of students with the best test scores. He considered it a good way to praise his achievers and motivate the rest of his students.
A parent complained that their child’s name and grade was made public, and the teacher was admonished that his deed violated state law. Written permission from the student is needed before publicly announcing details about students. There are some exceptions – a list of students on the honor roll or principal’s list, and graduates with the highest class rankings, for example.
Federal law protects the release of student records as well. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA] allows the release of only a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. Parents may request that this information be witheld. Any other specific data on a student is private, including discipline records and grades. These rights pass to the student when he or she turns 18.
There are no restrictions on students sharing their grades, class rankings and test scores with each other.