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GEAR 5 - Data and Privacy

Gear 5 - Introduction

Data privacy and security are foundational elements of digital learning. A personalized, learner-centered environment uses technology to collect, analyze, and organize data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning. The district ensures sound data privacy and security policies, procedures, and practices are in place at the district, school, classroom, and student levels.

 Gear 5 is comprised of the following Future Ready elements:

data and privacy

  • Data and Data Systems
  • Data Policies, Procedures, and Practices        
  • Data-Informed Decision-Making
  • Data Literate Education Professionals

The WISE Student Data Privacy Main Menu offers important links to become more familiar with student data privacy issues in Wisconsin.

In addition to the Future Ready Framework, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes language stating student data privacy is important and suggesting that the U.S. Education Secretary "should review all regulations addressing issues of student privacy, including those under this Act, and ensure that students' personally identifiable information is protected."  ESSA also emphasizes the value of professional development for educators in regard to data privacy, security and digital citizenship, and cites these as possible uses of ESSA funds within school districts.


Gear 5 - Guiding Questions for Planning

  • What are appropriate student data (both demographic and academic) to be collected?
  • How can school districts use data to improve student learning and close achievement gaps?
  • How can the DPI ensure rapid turnaround of data collected so the data can be used in a timely manner to improve student learning in every classroom while protecting privacy and ensuring the security of data?
  • What technology supports need to be present at the state level to ensure districts can access and manage their data in a secure manner?
  • Do school districts have data and information systems in place to track outcomes and measure success in the most meaningful and secure manner?
  • What supports do Wisconsin school districts need to ensure they can provide users access rights to data and online content securely?
  • How can we establish protocols and processes to share student data within and beyond the district when appropriate?

Gear 5 -  Data and Privacy Priorities

The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan Goals, Recommendations, and Priority Activities within each section of the plan represent issues that speak to our engagement with federal, state, and local education agencies. Activities are targeted for completion by state education agency (SEA) and local education agency (LEA). In many cases, there will be the collaboration between and among agencies to meet the goals.

GOAL 5.1

Personalized, learner-centered environments use technology to collect, analyze, and organize data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of learning. Data and privacy are foundation elements of a technology-enabled, digital learning ecosystem.  


Data are available at any time, on any device, and from any location, made available securely through real-time access to data dashboards, data analytics, and data warehouses only for authorized users.


  • State and district leaders will establish data systems and online assessments. They will hire and train the information technology staff members required to deploy and maintain these systems.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)
  • State and district leaders will work with national, state, and local groups to develop guidelines and identify best practices for written agreements for use by districts choosing to contract with third-party data system providers.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)
  • State and district leaders will investigate the development of scalable single sign-on and identity access management solutions for all students.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)
  • State and regional agencies will provide technical training to districts ready to deploy and maintain new data systems.  (SEA Target for Wisconsin DPI)

GOAL 5.2

Districts are familiar with state and federal legislation regarding the safety, security, and privacy of data.


All districts will adopt formal governance structures (policies and procedures) related to data usage, privacy, and security.  


  • Using the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Wisconsin Pupil Records Statute (118.125) as the basis, DPI will provide school districts with model policies addressing data privacy and security.  (SEA Target for Wisconsin DPI)
  • Districts will create or update policies, procedures, and practices to address legal, ethical, and safety issues related to the privacy and security of data, and the usage of data, technology, and the Internet.  (LEA Target for districts)
  • DPI will provide school districts with models of data security and management plans.  (SEA Target for Wisconsin DPI)
  • Districts will develop and adopt data management and security plans.  Plans will include communication, implementation, oversight, and evaluation practices.  (LEA Target for districts)
  • Create statewide workgroups to focus on digital privacy, data security and digital citizenship programming for districts by created shared resources.  Coordinate sharing of data privacy and security best practices through partnerships with stakeholders leveraging appropriate events and channels.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)

GOAL 5.3

The use of formative and summative assessment data is part of the school culture, with administrators, educators, and students actively using this data to improve learning. There is an expectation data will inform all teaching and learning practices and decisions. Students and teachers will report an increase in collaboration, learning options, and student achievement.


District leaders will set formal expectations for data-driven decision-making and evidence-based reasoning at the district and school levels. They will integrate these concepts into school improvement plans, staff development offerings, and decision-making processes.


  • Provide regional and state training sessions using the WISExplore system of supports on the effective use of data in analyzing student data.  (SEA Target for Wisconsin DPI)
  • Collaborate with partners including institutes of higher education to conduct research and program evaluations which inform practice.  Share this information through the WISE tools and in conjunction with stakeholders through appropriate professional learning events and channels. (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)

GOAL 5.4

Educators in the system are data-literate and understand the potential uses and misuses of data in the teaching and learning process and act accordingly.


Review and update curricula annually to make effective use of evidence and data-based decision-making.  Data systems used by districts must meet educator and parent needs and are understandable to them so they can support student learning.


  • Provide training opportunities to educators and administrators on the legal and ethical responsibility to ensure security, accuracy, and privacy in the collection, analysis, exchange of, and reporting of data.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)
  • Provide training opportunities on the instructional support tools, strategic assessment resources, and the state longitudinal data system to help leaders and educators support student learning.  (SEA and LEA Targets for Wisconsin DPI and districts)
  • Provide opportunities for parents to learn about data systems in use in the district and how they as parents can use the data available to them to support their child’s progress.  (LEA Target for districts)
  • Publish an inventory of data elements collected from school districts on a uniform, statewide basis, helping parents be aware of what data is managed relative to their children.  (SEA Target for Wisconsin DPI)