Information Requests - Individual Data
- Check to see if the student has requested no disclosure before giving out any public information.
- Have official records, such as transcripts, be sent by the office responsible for that record.
- Do not look up information about students unless it is part of your job duty.
- Note that a spouse, a parent, or an employer is not necessarily entitled to any more information than anyone else is. Please refer parental requests to the registrar's office.
Information Requests - Group Data
Refer requests for lists of students to the Office of the Registrar. This is overly simplistic but a reasonable rule of thumb. Organizations often request information about groups of students. Frequently, these organizations are offering a service to students. Sometimes providing the information would be in violation of privacy regulations. For example, providing a list of seniors with 3.5 GPAs to another school or an honorary society is a violation. This list contains information about gpas, and, therefore, requires the students' written permission to release.
We are under no obligation to provide lists to outside agencies. (Exceptions being certain accreditation agencies) Where the offered service is real, and is deemed important, there typically are ways to accomplish the task; check with the Office of the Registrar.
Grade Posting and Paper Return
Do not display scores or grades publicly in association with names, ID numbers, social security numbers, or other personal identifiers. Identifiers such as code names, or code numbers are usually OK. The resulting posting should not be in alphabetical or numerical order by student name or full ID number.
Do not put graded papers and lab reports in public places. Students should not have access to the grades of others in the class. Return of graded papers or tests can be done by: individually giving the test/paper to the student in class, faculty office, or department office; using code words or randomly assigned numbers rather than names; using self-addressed mailing envelopes; using locked student mailboxes.
Encourage your students to use the web to look up their final grades. Grades start being posted to the student record three to four days after the end of each final exam. As soon as they are posted, the grades are available to students through the "View Grades" or "View or Print Your Unofficial Transcript" web applications.
Records kept by you for your own use are your personal records. These are not, formally, educational records; students have no rights to access. When records are shared, as in a central advising folder, these records become part of the formal educational record and are bound by all educational record regulations.
Keep data such as test scores and paper grades for at least a year. This will allow students time to question possible clerical errors. Instructors who will be inaccessible should leave this information with the department. (Personal records remain personal if they are used by a substitute in the absence of the instructor.)
Challenge to the substantive judgment of faculty members, about the quality of a student's work as expressed in grades or evaluations, is not within the purview of the privacy regulations.