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Utah’s Educational Data Gateway

Utah’s Educational Data Gateway is a resource provided by the Utah State Board of Education ( USBE ) that allows the public and school personnel to access education-related data. USBE uses data to analyze student performance and inform educational improvements at the policy, state board, and classroom level.

Accountability and transparency in education data is important for parents and the community as a tool to help inform decisions about their student’s educational choices. The reports found here in the Data Gateway are designed as a tool to provide that information to help concerned individuals see the results of the measurements of student learning outcomes.

At the same time, the performance data and personally identifiable student information data needs to be kept safe, private, and follow federal and state standards and laws, including FERPA, to maintain student data security and privacy. While the data used by the USBE and Local Education Agencies (LEA) is comprehensive, the data made available to the public is masked to avoid unintended disclosure of personally identifiable information at summary school, LEA, or state level reports.

Utah’s Educational Data Gateway is designed to provide quick and easy access for parents, teachers, principals, district administrators, and other policymakers and stakeholders to view public school outcomes. Public education report requirements can offer a challenge in meeting transparency needs while also protecting each student’s personally identifiable information (PII). Recognizing this, the security of students’ data and the protection of their privacy are of paramount importance for schools, districts, charter schools, and the Utah State Board of Education ( USBE ).

Protecting the privacy of student data is a very serious matter. When reporting requires that subgroup, small school, or small class performance and information be available, the data may not be published if the results would yield identifiable information about an individual student.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Enacted in 1974, FERPA establishes requirements for protecting student education records. The law applies to all education institutions that receive applicable funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more of the following links:

Utah Administrative Code R277-487: Public School Data Confidentiality and Disclosure

In addition to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - the federal law that all State Education Agencies, districts, and schools must follow — USBE adopted Rule R277-487:

The rule provides an additional layer of protection for students, as it focuses on three key areas of transparency, governance, and data protection procedures.

Data Gateway Statistical Reporting Method for Protecting PII

Public education reports offer the challenge of meeting transparency requirements while also meeting legal requirements to protect each student’s personally identifiable information (PII). Recognizing this, the reporting requirements state that subgroup disaggregation of the data may not be published if the results would yield personally identifiable information about an individual student. While the data used by the Utah State Board of Education ( USBE ) and local education agencies (LEAs) is comprehensive, the data made available to the public is masked to avoid unintended disclosure of personally identifiable information at summary school, LEA, or state-level reports.

This is done by applying the following statistical method for protecting PII.

  1. Underlying counts for groups or subgroups totals are not reported.
  2. If a reporting group has 1 or more subgroup(s) with 10 or fewer students.
    • The results of the subgroup(s) with 10 or fewer students are recoded as “N<10”
    • For remaining subgroups within the reporting group
      1. For subgroups with 300 or more students, apply the following suppression rules.
        1. Values of 99% to 100% are recoded to ≥99%
        2. Values of 0% to 1% are recoded to ≤1%
      2. For subgroups with 100 or more than but less than 300 students, apply the following suppression rules.
        1. Values of 98% to 100% are recoded to ≥98%
        2. Values of 0% to 2% are recoded to ≤2%
      3. For subgroups with 40 or more but less than 100 students, apply the following suppression rules.
        1. Values of 95% to 100% are recoded to ≥95%
        2. Values of 0% to 5% are recoded to ≤5%
      4. For subgroups with 20 or more but less than 40 students, apply the following suppression rules.
        1. Values of 90% to 100% are recoded to ≥90%
        2. Values of 0% to 10% are recoded to ≤10%
        3. Recode the percentage in all remaining categories in all groups into intervals as follows (11-19,20-29,…,80-89)
      5. For subgroups with 10 or more but less than 20 students, apply the following suppression rules.
        1. Values of 80% to 100% are recoded to ≥80%
        2. Values of 0% to 20% are recoded to ≤20%
        3. Recode the percentage in all remaining categories in all groups into intervals as follows (20-29,30-39,…,70-79)