The privacy of Oregon students is a top priority for the SLDS. The data in the SLDS is assembled, maintained, used and disseminated in a way that ensures confidentiality and security and meets the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA. All users of the system must complete training regarding data security and sign a user confidentiality agreement.
The SLDS does not collect any data itself from Oregonians; Data is sent to the SLDS by partner agencies through a data sharing agreement. The system receives the data and sends it through two main tools to ensure student privacy is maintained:
- De-identification. When a student record enters the SLDS, it goes through an encryption process. The identifying information for the student is removed, and it is replaced with a randomly generated number. This allows the system to link students’ information over time without identifying the students.
- Suppression. The SLDS applies suppression rules, which mask small numbers or percentages of students to ensure no student is able to be identified. For example, if a SLDS query generates only 4 students at a particular school, that number is suppressed, or hidden, to ensure no one is able to identify those students. The SLDS uses the same suppression rules as the agency that is the source of the data, and when the data comes from multiple agencies, the system uses the most restrictive rules.