What We Do
Delaware Department of Education values both transparency of public reporting and the privacy of the personally identifiable information of the students served in our schools. It is essential to understand the following when reviewing and requesting data:
- Many state-, district-, and school-level data sets are available for public use, however the department does not make student-level data available for public consumption. In reviewing requests for additional data, consideration is given to access permitted by statute and federal law, privacy concerns, security procedures, the availability of staff to monitor the data release and the perceived benefits of the research.
- The department takes personally identifiable data security very seriously. Individuals and/or organizations must have systems in place to ensure security, sign a memorandum of understanding, and align their work with the DDOE Priorities. Not all data requests, both confidential and non-confidential, will be granted. Priority will be given to requests that coincide with the DDOE priorities.
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 Recognizing this, the reporting requirements state that disaggregation of the data may not be published if the results would yield personally identifiable information about an individual student.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 DDOE 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.
Pursuant to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (CFR §99), the DDOE applies the following statistical methods to avoid disclosure of personally identifiable information in aggregate reporting.
- For all data, counts for groups or subgroups with or fewer students are suppressed and represented by “-” in data reports. Complementary suppression of one or more non-sensitive cells in a table may be required so that the values of the suppressed cells may not be calculated by subtracting the reported values from the row and column totals.
- Only report percentages for grade level reporting within a school and district.
- Percentages are suppressed when the underlying student counts can be derived for groups or subgroups with or fewer students (i.e., if the number tested and proficient are reported, then the percentage may need to be suppressed).
- Any percentage above or below 5 will be reported as >9and <5%, respectively.