Thursday, December 4, 2014

Computer Programs and Assessments

More and more classroom time is being spent on computers, iPads, laptops, etc.  Our children are using computer programs for test prep, classwork and homework.  These are in the form of test prep, CDT's and Study Island as well as various computer Apps and online .  As with anything done online, there is a concern for data collection and privacy.  

What can parents do to protect their children's identity and privacy while they are using computers in school?
  • Request paper/pencil version or alternative
  • Request an anonymous login  
  • Request a group login 

  Opt Out Letter for Computer Programs and Assessments 
Dear Superintendent/Principal/Teacher(s):

I am writing to inform you that [my child] be excused from all CDT, Study Island and any other computer assessments and programs.  I request paper/pencil assessments only.  If there is a computerized assessment or program my [son/daughter] must take, I require prior parental informed consent and an anonymous student login where [his/her] name or student ID is not attached.

After much research regarding common core, Pennsylvania’s statewide longitudinal data system and its collection and sharing requirements, I have become even more suspicious and skeptical on the state's ability to secure data.  Since my daughter is not of legal age to legally bind herself to ownership of her personal data, that responsibility falls on her parents.  Since the Pennsylvania Department of Education will not allow me to opt her out of the increasingly invasive data collection through PIMS I will remove her from the means for data collection.  

I am sure you can appreciate my desire to protect my daughter from the possibility of identity theft at an early age.  While I do have concerns with the educational value of the Common Core aligned CDT and Study Island assessments, my biggest concern with electronic assessments is data collection and privacy of my minor child. 


The Children’s Online Privacy Protecting Act (COPPA)

For students age 12 and younger, please read the information provided at: UNITED OPT OUT regarding COPPA.

“The Children’s Online Privacy Protecting Act (COPPA) allows parents to control what information is collected online from their children twelve and under. Therefore, as a parent, you have a right to find out what information is being collected, you can review what information is being collected, and you can REFUSE to allow your child to participate in the online program.  You can simply opt your child out of the program – or the online test.”

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