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Teaching Tips

Addressing Student Privacy: FERPA Tips

by Kalee Ackerman | May 19, 2020

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FERPA is a federal law that governs educational records. It grants specific rights to students and regulates how institutions must handle educational records, including grades.

DO NOT do the following:

  • Discuss a student’s grades with his/her parent or anyone else.
    • Instead, refer calls from parents to the Office of the Dean of Students (333-0050). You may discuss a student’s performance with the course instructor. When in doubt, don't give it out.
  • Post grades by class roster, even with the names blacked out.
    • Instead, post grades by a unique number known only to you and the student, and re- sort your class list into numerical order by these unique numbers.
  • Email the class a list of all students’ grades.
  • Include grades/GPA in letters of reference without permission.
    • Instead, ask if this information should be included (and get it in writing) or write the recommendation without this information.
  • Publish” personal student information—name, contact info, schedule.
    • Why not? Some students have contact information flagged for non-release with the Registrar for a wide variety of reasons.
  • Email groups of students in ways that show student email addresses.
    • Instead, place email addresses in blind copy.

  • Create third party website accounts for students.

Department of Education: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)