Who Should Be Able to See Students Records
Every school and university maintains the students' academic and educational records. They keep every piece of detail, from one's kindergarten records to graduation. Schools continue to keep the information even though the students have moved on. The information comprises of the exam and test scores and grades. It also includes character certification and reports. Student records are also made up of teacher evaluations. It also includes address details, parentage and attendance information. Many schools disclose simple information such as student's name, address, contact information, date and place of birth, and dates of attendance.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Enacted in 1974, this act was implemented to ensure access to education records. FERPA falls under the US Department of Education. The act lays out the primary federal records retention and destruction requirements. It deals with students' records as:
- School districts to have written educational records policy
- Parents have right and access to their children's records
- Parents can make amendments to the information if they find it to be incorrect or inaccurate
- Records should be kept confidential by the school
- When the student reaches 18 years of age, parents can no longer access the records
- Schools maintain a file for every student
If the school's staff member wants to access the student's records, they have to fill out a log in the student's file. FERPA aims at keeping students' records and information confidential. It gives the students and the parents the much-needed privacy. Schools which fall under this act are made up of those institutions that get funding under the federal programs. Overall, FERPA doesn't disclose students' records to any third party. The information is kept pretty much protected and safe. The act gives students the right to go through and make the necessary amendments to their records. For this, the student and the parents have to write an application requesting to make amendments or corrections. The schools or institutions respond within forty-five days. The actual time frame or a number of years is not known as to for how long, the schools or institutions maintain and store the records.
The majority of the universities throughout the world have special policies in place to guard and uphold the students' records and privacy. For example, the SOAS University of London has the student services department looking after the records. Students can request the department to release their records to the tutor or registry. They need to make an application as to what information can be released and what cannot. Many universities have software in place which can restore and protect the data. Students' records are kept safe and sound. The institutions even update and maintain the information. Students have to bring to the notice of the respective department, about change in address or contact number if they want to update their records. The administrators go about it easily as they have special software. Moreover, students have to be aware of the students' records policies and acts of the university. This is because of many a times, it has been seen that problems arise when students are misinformed or not informed fully. Nowadays, many schools have the similar procedures. The law holds them down. Students can rest assured that their records are kept safely and will not be used against them. But then, there are also institutions that have a set of rules and procedures to access students' information or records. It makes it difficult for the students as they are afraid that the information will be used against them regarding securing a good university, internship or job placement.
With acts and policies in place to safeguard confidential records, students are themselves highlighting their private details online. They are uploading all their information on social media, emails, and blogs. It can be accessible by anyone in any country in the world! Sometimes, hackers make the most of it. The crack into the school's network or government websites and access all the records. Though protected by passwords and special encryption, hackers get through it anyhow! They make it public. Then what's the use of having acts and policies in place? It gives a sense of security and a feel of privacy. But, this doesn't last very long. To safeguard their bio-data and other essential information, students should refrain from highlighting their information online. It will prove to be well for them in the long run.