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The Forum Guide to Data Ethics


Each and every day, educators collect and use data about students, staff, and schools. Some of these data originate in individual student and staff records that are confidential or otherwise sensitive. And even those data that are a matter of public record, such as aggregate school enrollment, need to be accessed, presented, and used in an ethically responsible manner. While laws set the legal parameters that govern data use, ethics establish fundamental principles of "right and wrong" that are critical to the appropriate management and use of education data in the technology age. This guide reflects the experience and judgment of experienced data managers; while there is no mandate to follow these principles, the authors hope that the contents will prove a useful reference to others in their work.

This guide contains:

  • Canons-core ethical principles

  • Vignettes--example that illustrates how an ethical canon is relevant to the real world

  • Discussion--an explanation of the canon that provides context for understanding the ethical principles being addressed

  • Recommended Practices and Training