School Data Rooms Are Not the Answer to FERPA Compliance

The school data room has been a popular tool to display and review students’ progress for many years. They typically take the form of white boards and charts that display data from academics for teachers to see. The concept is to enable teacher teams and administrative staff to review and discuss student progress in a manner that is collaborative.

The issue with these data displays is that they might be in violation of FERPA guidelines. These data spaces can be used to humiliate students in front of their peers or to shame them publicly. This should not be happening in schools.

Teachers also find it difficult to monitor progress of students using these walls for data, particularly if there are a variety of grades and subjects being tracked. Teachers can tackle complex issues much more easily with a digital system, which allows them to filter by specific assignments, trends, and dates. They can also drill down to classrooms and student cohorts.

A digital solution could also include an annotation tool that lets users create personal notes on any document stored in the system. This is a wonderful feature to keep track of tasks, Q&A threads and document uploads. It would be great for the solution to provide access to documents, folders, and activities depending on roles, document and folder levels, or activity.

As schools are pushed to focus on instruction based on data it is crucial that they have tools to aid in the review and discussion of the data in a collaborative manner. By choosing a digital solution that provides the right balance of features that meet the needs of educators schools can be certain they’ve made a good decision.