Foundations of Student Data Privacy

School district leader demonstrates understanding of the importance of protecting student data privacy and potential risks incurred from unprotected data.
Made by Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The school district leader recognizes the importance of protecting student data privacy and communicates potential risks of unclear student data privacy policies.

Method Components

Foundations of Student Data Privacy is the first micro-credential in the Student Data Privacy stack. Successful completion of this micro-credential is a prerequisite for earning the remaining micro-credentials in the Student Data Privacy stack:

  1. Foundations of Student Data Privacy
  2. Determining Your School District’s Data Privacy Needs
  3. Communicating with Parents and Community Stakeholders About Student Data Privacy
  4. Evaluating an Online Service Provider
  5. Professional Development for Administrators, Teachers, and Support Staff


As students increasingly perform classroom activities that rely on technology, schools have become more reliant than ever on third-party software developers, vendors, etc., to meet instructional goals. Beyond an instructional context, schools are increasingly reliant on third-party vendors that host cloud-based services for student information systems, learning management, assessments, and more. How can school districts balance this rapidly expanding need for data management solutions with the need to protect student data from being used to malicious or unintended ends?

What are some potential pitfalls of unclear (or nonexistent) student data privacy policies?

  • Student data might be used for targeted commercial marketing opportunities by third-party vendors
  • District employees might be more vulnerable to attempts by external parties to gain unauthorized access to data (e.g., phishing)
  • Sensitive personally identifiable information about students might be exposed
  • Parents might question whether their children should use particular tools based on privacy fears
  • Teachers might unintentionally require their students to submit more personal information than would be appropriate when signing up for a tool

Research & Resources

Supporting Research


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a “Yes” on Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Why is it important for school districts to have a clear and thorough understanding of student data privacy?
  • How might an unclear (or nonexistent) student data privacy policy impact a student, school, and district? Provide one example (it can be hypothetical) and describe its impact at these three levels.

Part 2. Evidence/Artifacts

To earn this micro-credential, please develop one or more artifacts (a mock web page, flyer, policy document, staff memo, etc.) that communicate the potential negative impact of an unclear (or nonexistent) student data privacy policy in a compelling way. The audience for the artifact (teachers, parents, students, etc.) should be clear.

Part 3. Reflection

How have your responses in parts 1 and 2, along with the resources and research, impacted your thinking on student data privacy in your local context? (200-word limit)

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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