I decided to post the letter I sent to the Superintendent in the Bedford School District.  I thought it might be helpful for parents in other districts…...

Hi Chip

RAL_NAEP_Letter  I’m attaching a letter that was recently sent to parents regarding the upcoming NAEP assessment that will be given to students at the end of February.  I noticed it’s the identical letter posted here.

I had a few questions in accordance with RSA 91-A:

1) In reference to : “In addition to answering questions in one of these subjects, students will be asked questions about themselves and their educational experiences, such as the amount of reading they do and the types of classes they take.” Can you post ALL of the NON-Academic/personal questions that will be asked on the NAEP prior to administering the assessment? Since these kinds of questions would not be infringing upon the security of the academic questions that will be asked, I’m assuming this information is easily available for parents to look at and inspect.

2) Can you confirm that students use their names or any other personally identifiable information when taking the NAEP?

3) How many personal questions will be on the NAEP ? I read one article recently that said 300 questions were on “values”, 30 on math and 30 on reading.

4) The form letter references Public Law 107-347and states “the results are completely confidential.” However there is no information on where the information goes. What Government departments have access to this personal information on Bedford students? Where is the privacy policy?

The FERPA law was recently gutted by the Obama administration so information sent to the Federal Government can be shared with different departments.

5) Would the Department of Labor, for instance, have access to this information? If not now, what about in the future?

6) If this personal information on students is stored, would it then be possible that information could be shared if regulations are changed in the future?

I’m afraid the letter to parents left many questions unanswered given the heightened concern with privacy rights. And with the recent changes to the FERPA law, it certainly raises concern about where this information is going now and where it has the potential to go in the future.

It’s been suggested that personal information on students is being gathered to create a dossier. This dossier will collect and track students from pre-school to the workforce. Information on individuals that can be shared with future employers may be a reality once the entire Redesign has been fully implemented schools across the United States.

While these form letters offer a scripted set of information, it still leaves many unanswered questions. Perhaps gathering more details and information prior to administering data collection assessments would be beneficial to all stakeholders in the future.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to sharing that information with concerned parents and taxpayers.

Ann Marie Banfield

UPDATE: This is the reply from Chip McGee, Superintendent
(Note: FERPA Laws were gutted by the Obama Admin. )

Hi Bill,

Here is the response I received from the powers that be. I put a copy of the sample questions out Fed Ex to you today . You should have it tomorrow.

Here is what they have sent over to me:

Please see our responses below.

In response to our parent letter that we sent out last week, we have had a community member file a Freedom of Information request under RSA-91A. If possible, I need information regarding the following questions:

– Is there a link or a sample of the student questionnaire available? Especially the personal questions.  The link for the Sample Questions Booklets is on the Notify Parents landing page under Additional Resources.  The Sample Questions Booklet can also be found at  http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/booklets.aspx

It’s important to understand that once the assessment is given the student names are no longer associated with the responses.  Therefore it is not possible to link students responses to specific students.  The data is aggregated and reported at the state level.  Responses for individual schools or students are not available.

– What personal information do students provide on the test?  See the Sample Questions Booklet for the student background questions at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/booklets.aspx.

– How is student personal information stored?

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): NAEP complies with FERPA confidentiality requirements through its use of data transmittal, data storage, and personnel protocols designed to safeguard personally identifying information. Confidential information is protected during transmission to and from NAEP systems by the use of data encryption technologies, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and digital certificates and signatures that encrypt data, validate data integrity, and authenticate the parties in a transaction. NAEP uses SSL for all restricted-access websites, such MyNAEP.com, that are used to transfer and temporarily store confidential data.

– How is student data disposed of? What is this procedure?

 NAEP maintains student information data files only during the current assessment year. Each school participating in NAEP is provided with a red NAEP storage envelope in December to securely store all documents with identifiable student information until June 1 or the end of the school year, at which point they are to shred the contents of the envelope. After the assessment in each school, field staff members remove the tear-off strips preprinted with student names from administrative records and any printouts from MyNAEP, place them in the red storage envelope, and hand the envelope to the school coordinator. Moreover, all documents with student information that are printed from the MyNAEP website include a “Confidential” watermark and a notice stating that the print-out must be kept in the red NAEP storage envelope. In terms of Westat’s storage of student data, all individual student data submitted electronically during the E-Filing process are destroyed by Westat following the assessment period.  

– What is the protocol for student anonymity?  Student names are disassociated from student assessment booklets once the assessment has been given.

 After the assessments are conducted, student names are never linked to student responses.  While in the school, student names are removed from any administrative lists that would permit linking a student to either demographic data or the assessment booklet. 

– What government departments have access to this information?

No government departments have access to this information. NAEP is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education, and is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).  However, no government agencies, including NCES, have access to student information.

– Does the Department of Labor have access?


There is additional information for parents located on the NAEP web site.   http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/parents/