US DOE issues privacy guidelines for college entrance exams.
Homeschool students register online to take either the SAT or ACT college entrance exams all results are sent directly to them and the college/university they request NOT the public school where they physically take the exam. (See our Homeschooling through High School page for more info.)
Apparently, public schools are now registering their students for these exams (instead of the student registering online themselves) and the data collected are getting caught up in the state longitudinal data systems where privacy seems not to be protected. This has led the US Department of Education to write a “guidance document” protecting the data of these students who take the SAT or ACT.
June 13, 2018 article by Jane Robbins of America Principles Project published in The Hill:
Many homeschool parents have expressed concerned over questions asked during registration process… many have commented the questions are personal, intrusive, and not answering doesn’t appear to be optional. Rest assured they ARE OPTIONAL! From the Robbins article:
- An especially welcome aspect of the guidance relates to the “voluntary” pre-test surveys that appear on both SAT and ACT. With SAT, for example, the College Board includes 35 questions that explore personal areas such as extracurricular activities, educational aspirations, parental income, and even religion.As the guidance notes, “We have heard from teachers and students … that the voluntary nature of these pre-test surveys is not well understood.” The confusion results from the College Board’s pressuring students to participate: “While you don’t have to answer these questions, we strongly recommend that you do so.”Many students are given the impression that if they decline to answer, they’ll miss out on opportunities such as scholarships. (For the arguably deceptive practices related to the College Board’s PSAT, which some states also require, see Cheri Kiesecker’s account.) And as the PTAC notes, the College Board makes it cumbersome to opt out: “Each of the questions requires a response, and the student must affirmatively indicate in response to multiple questions that the student does not wish to provide the information.”