Effective July 1, 2021, school districts will be required by the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA) to provide additional guarantees that student data is protected when collected by educational technology companies, and that data is used for beneficial purposes only (105 ILCS 85).
School districts throughout the State of Illinois contract with different educational technology vendors for beneficial K-12 purposes such as providing personalized learning and innovative educational technologies, and increasing efficiency in school operations.
Under Illinois’ Student Online Personal Protection Act, or SOPPA (105 ILCS 85), educational technology vendors and other entities that operate Internet websites, online services, online applications, or mobile applications that are designed, marketed, and primarily used for K-12 school purposes are referred to in SOPPA as operators. SOPPA is intended to ensure that student data collected by operators is protected, and it requires those vendors, as well as school districts and the Illinois State Board of Education, to take a number of actions to protect online student data.
Depending upon the particular educational technology being used, our District may need to collect different types of student data, which is then shared with educational technology vendors through their online sites, services, and/or applications. Under SOPPA, educational technology vendors are prohibited from selling or renting a student’s information or from engaging in targeted advertising using a student’s information. Such vendors may only disclose student data for K-12 school purposes and other limited purposes permitted under the law.
In general terms, the types of student data that may be collected and shared include Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about students or information that can be linked to PII about students, such as:
Basic identifying information, including student or parent/guardian name and student or parent/guardian contact information, username/password, student ID number
Assessment data, grades, and transcripts
Attendance and class schedule
Special indicators (e.g., disability information, English language learner, free/reduced meals or homeless/foster care status)
In-application performance data
Application metadata and application use statistics
Permanent and temporary school student record information
Operators may collect and use student data only for K-12 purposes, which are purposes that aid in the administration of school activities, such as:
Instruction in the classroom or at home (including remote learning)
Collaboration between students, school personnel, and/or parents/guardians
Other activities that are for the use and benefit of the school district