More student data to be made available under new guidelines

New rules recently implemented by the Department of Education will make it easier for state education authorities to track student academic growth and identify areas in which schools need to improve. However, privacy advocacy groups say the new rules undermine efforts to protect students' data and privacy, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The regulations will enable education experts to assess the effectiveness of federal education programs and comply with existing privacy laws. Supporters of the laws claim that measuring the performance of schools has been difficult in the past due to hesitation by colleges about what information can be shared. The personal data of students is currently protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

"The [Department of Education] has regrettably decided to go down the path of a data free-for-all in the name of accountability," said Barmak Nassirian, an associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), as quoted by the news source.

The AACRAO's response claims that the same results could have been achieved by the implementation of carefully thought out changes to existing laws, and that such changes could have still maintained the privacy of college students. More than 10,000 college admissions officials are members of the AACRAO.

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