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Updated February 28, 2018

ReadTheory

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Data are not shared for advertising or marketing.
  • Behavioral or contextual advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are not collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Unclear whether this product uses data to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Unclear whether this product allows third parties to use data to create ad profiles, data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
The criteria for "Use with Caution" are narrowly focused around data uses related to creating profiles that aren't related to any educational purpose, and using data to target ads. We include both first party (ie, the vendor that builds the service) and third party (any company given access by the vendor) data use. It's worth highlighting that using data to profile students violates multiple state laws, and in some cases also violates federal law.

A service can be designated "Use with Caution" for either a lack of transparency around data use -- which creates the potential for profiling and behavioral targeting -- or for clearly stating that they use data to target advertisements and/or create profiles. As with any application being considered for use within schools, school and/or district staff should review the privacy policies and terms of service to ensure that they meet the legal and practical requirements of their state laws and school policies.

As with the "Not Recommended" criteria, a "Use with Caution" designation is NOT a sign that a vendor is necessarily doing anything unethical or illegal. It is a sign that, based on publicly available policies,  we do not have adequate guarantees that data will not be used by first or third parties to create non-educational profiles or to target behavioral ads.
Use with Caution
Full evaluation
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Overall Scoreinfo-bubble

This overall score represents how the service addressed all our evaluation questions. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive policies.

Overview

ReadTheory provides texts matched to Lexile Levels, and tracks student progress and comprehension through reading exercises. The terms of ReadTheory state they do not allow users to interact with other users in the same classroom, or school. ReadTheory's terms state they may collect a user's personal information and non-personal usage information automatically from data analytics. ReadTheory's terms state they take reasonable steps to release a student's personal information only to third parties who are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security and integrity of the information. Lastly, ReadTheory's terms state they are compliant with COPPA and obtain parental consent for all users under 13 years of age.

ReadTheory can be accessed through its website. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on ReadTheory’s website. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Read the Common Sense standard privacy report (SPR)arrow
The standard privacy report (SPR) displays the most important privacy practices from a product’s polices in a single easy-to-read outline. The report displays an alert when a particular privacy practice is risky, unclear, or not evaluated. This alert indicates more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.
SafetyPromoting responsible use
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Evaluating safety takes into consideration best practices that protect a user's physical and emotional health. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to safety.
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The terms of ReadTheory state they do not allow users to interact with other users in the same classroom, or school. However, ReadTheory's terms state they may share a student's personal information with new teachers who use the Services in their classrooms when a student enrolls in that teachers' class. In addition, ReadTheory terms state they may share a teacher's personal information with other teachers within a school using the same Services. The terms state Student progress reports are accessible only to the students themselves by logging in their Student Account. However, progress reports may also be visible to any Teacher Accounts to whom each student's account is linked.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
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Evaluating privacy takes into consideration best practices that protect the disclosure of a user's personal information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to privacy.
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The terms of ReadTheory state they may collect a user's personal information and non-personal usage information automatically from data analytics. However, ReadTheory's terms state they do not require users to provide personal information to use the Service and do not allow users to upload any photographs. ReadTheory’s terms state they will not sell student personal information or disclose a student's personal information to any third party for that third party's own marketing purposes.

However, ReadTheory's terms states they may display non-targeted advertisements to users of the Service, because it is the means by which the Service generates revenue necessary to sustain the site as a completely free resource. In addition, ReadTheory's terms state they may advertise third-party linked websites from which users may purchase or otherwise obtain certain sample goods, freebie offerings or free trial services. The terms specify that they will not use or disclose student information, whether personal information or otherwise, for behavioral targeting of advertisements to students. Advertisements on the Site are non-targeted, which means targeted advertising has been disabled for all ads shown on this Site.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
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Evaluating security takes into consideration best practices that protect the integrity and confidentiality of a user's data. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to security.
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ReadTheory's terms state they take reasonable steps to release a student's personal information only to third parties who are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security and integrity of the information. ReadTheory's terms state they encrypt the transmission of all teachers' and students' personal information using security measures designed to protect the security, privacy, confidentiality, and integrity of personal information against risks through the use of administrative, technological, and physical safeguards. However, ReadTheory's terms state they do not also disclose whether teacher and student data are encrypted at rest. In the event of a data breach, ReadTheory's terms state they will notify users within 72 hours and the notification may be delivered in the form of email or in general message posting in a prominent location on the Service.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
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Evaluating compliance takes into consideration best practices of companies that collect personal information from children or students and the legal obligations for the privacy and security of that information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to compliance.
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ReadTheory's terms state they are compliant with COPPA and obtain parental consent for all users under 13 years of age. ReadTheory requires all users signing up for new Student Accounts, as well as all Teacher Accounts that create Student Accounts on behalf of their students, to review their parental consent information form. ReadTheory's terms state that any users under 13 years of age who continue to use the Site following their parents' or guardians' review of their Parental Information Form are considered to constitute parental consent.

ReadTheory's terms state they do not receive funding from the United States Department of Education, and therefore are not subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or qualify as a "school official" for any purposes. However, although ReadTheory is not an educational institution, they provide services to educational institutions under FERPA and collect statistics on student progress reports that are used in classrooms and by teachers that could, in some situations, constitute "education records" under FERPA. Teachers should consult with administrative staff to get a clear understanding of whether or not their use of this service triggers additional obligations under FERPA.

About Privacy Evaluations

The privacy evaluations have been designed with the help and support of a consortium of schools and districts across the United States. These evaluations are designed to streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria are freely available and will remain freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and the information security primer we released. Vendors are encouraged to use our questions and the information security primer to self-evaluate. You can also learn more about our evaluation process.

Please be in touch with any questions or feedback.