Privacy issues to consider when publishing school/student information
This information assists schools to manage privacy considerations for the publication of student achievement and school performance data.
Privacy and interpretation of data
The fundamental principle for reporting performance information is to support school improvement throughout Queensland and to provide a profile of all schools to the community. Schools manage the reporting of student achievement information according to appropriate privacy provisions and ensure that publicly available information is accurate and easily interpreted.
Many Queensland schools with small enrolment numbers, particularly at individual year levels, take care not to identify individual students and take care with interpreting information where trends may be volatile. When reporting on small numbers or 'cohorts' of students, an annual variation in enrolment of just 1 or 2 students can have a significant effect on data from one year to the next. This is where setting information in context is of prime importance.
It is possible to identify individual students both directly and indirectly.
Direct disclosure is simply publishing information about an individual outright. Publishing or not publishing small subsets of data that enables the deduction of individual information is
indirect disclosure. This can occur where data reported for all students in a group, as well as for a large subset of this group leaves only a small subset not reported.
When publishing information on student achievement and school performance, carefully consider the nature of reporting where there are fewer than 5 students in a group, cohort, reporting field or where all persons in a particular group have achieved identical results.
All published information must maintain the privacy of individual student information and minimise the likelihood of falsely making assumptions and conclusions from the data.
School principals may decide that it is not possible to report certain data publicly in ways that maintain student privacy or minimise misinterpretation of performance. Where the decision is not to report specific data for these reasons, a narrative or descriptive comment on student achievement or school performance would meet the requirements of the Annual Reporting Policy (PDF, 177KB) checklist. To maintain the privacy of individual students when entering data to each school's pre-populated templates, data is withheld where appropriate and a notation made below the dataset (DW = Data withheld to ensure confidentiality).