Student Data Privacy Information

A primary goal of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is maximizing the use of data to improve student outcomes while protecting student privacy.  Whether the data is accessed through our dashboard and reporting tools, through an ad hoc request, or through a research protocol, we need to ensure that all users of our data are made aware of the rules and guidelines surrounding privacy and confidentiality.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) collects and maintains personally identifiable information from the education records of Wisconsin students.  With some exceptions (see below), such personally identifiable information is considered confidential and cannot be disclosed without the parent’s or student’s (if the student is eighteen or older) written consent.  Personally identifiable information includes a student’s name and other direct personal identifiers, such as the student’s identification number. Personally identifiable information also includes indirect identifiers, such as the name of the student’s parent or other family members; and personal characteristics or other information that would identify an individual student.

DPI follows the privacy requirements in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), Wisconsin Pupil Records Law, s.118.125, Stats., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 34 CFR 3000.560-300.577 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Use of Free and Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Information Nondiscrimination or Identification of Recipients, 42 USC 1758(b)(2)(C)ii, and all other federal and state laws and regulations that safeguard education records, privacy, and confidentiality.

Exceptions to Written Parental Consent Requirement

Records may be disclosed, without prior written consent, if the disclosure is for the purpose of:

  • An audit or evaluation of federal or state-supported education programs
  • The enforcement of or compliance with federal legal requirements relating to such programs

Records may be disclosed without prior written consent in other circumstances, including the following:

  • Disclosures to teachers and other school officials within the district whom the school or district has determined to have legitimate educational interests
  • Disclosures to officials of another school where the student intends to enroll, or is already enrolled as long as the disclosure is related to the student's enrollment or transfer
  • Disclosures to organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of a school district or state education agency to:
    • Develop, validate, or administer predictive tests
    • Administer student aid programs
    • Improve instruction
  • Disclosures connected with a health or safety emergency

Schools or districts may disclose directory information from education records (click here for definition and rules regarding directory information).

Complaints about procedures regarding privacy of student educational records may be filed with the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20201.

Informal inquiries may be sent to the FPCO through the following e-mail address: FERPA@ED.Gov and PPRA@ED.Gov.

Parental Rights under FERPA to Inspect, Review, and Request Amendment of Education Records

FERPA gives parents certain rights regarding their children's education records.

Except under certain circumstances, FERPA gives parents or eligible students the right to inspect and review the student’s education records.

For more information and other resources click on link below:

Student Data Privacy Resources

Have a WISEdash data or dashboard question, comment, and/or suggestion?


For questions about this information, contact Melissa Straw (608) 266-1089
Team Content Keywords: