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Testing your student

Amy Praskac - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Students take tests, all kinds of tests. The big stakes tests are the college entrance tests: the SAT and the ACT. Furthermore, the SAT and the ACT are required in 24 states and the District of Columbia for school account- ability and other purposes.

In addition to measuring academic knowledge, the testing companies collect personal information about your child. This practice raises a host
of issues:

  • Is the data protected?
  • Is the data sold or licensed for use?
  • Is the data used for profiling students for college admission?
  • Is providing personal data obligatory or voluntary?

Learning what personal data is obligatory and what is optional is where you can have the greatest effect on protecting your child’s privacy.

Because answering many of the questions is voluntary even though the SAT and PSAT encourage students to complete the Student Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Student Search Service. Similarly, the ACT also collects personal data from students.

According to Cheri Kiesecker, an active member of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, only student name, grade level, sex, date of birth, and student ID number (not SSN) are obligatory. Answering other questions about family’s race, religion, military background, parents’ highest level of education, and citizenship is voluntary.

Educate your child about the difference between obligatory and voluntary data requests to make sure he or she can pass the test on privacy rights.

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