Ask the FERPA Professor

Dear FERPA Professor,

I am hopeful you may find the time to answer a quick question/concern I have in relation to FERPA.  Some of the faculty are asking to have access to grades in other courses to be able to “better gauge student performance” and/or be able to “better advise” students during the semester.  I have told them that I think this is a FERPA violation  because they are not the faculty teaching each course and that this could be seen as a basis for discriminatory type of accusations.  What is your take on all faculty being able to see individual grades during the semester, quizzes, papers, tests, etc., even though all faculty are not responsible for teaching every course?

Thanks,

Al E Neuman

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Dear Al,

If the faculty requesting access to the student records have a direct involvement with the students whose education records would be disclosed, then the institution could, depending on how it is defined in your annual FERPA notice, deem them to have a "legitimate educational interest" in accessing the records.  Whether this is a good practice or not is for the institution to decide.  See §99.7(a)(3)(iii), which you can find on page 156 of the 2012 AACRAO FERPA Guide.

I hope this is helpful in answering your question.

The FERPA Professor

 

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