Full privacy evaluation | See all
Thumbnail
Updated December 18, 2018

Schoology

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Unclear whether data are sold or rented to third parties.
  • Data are shared for advertising or marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or contextual advertising.
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used 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
44
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

Schoology is a learning management system that allows parents, teachers, students, and school officials to track coursework. Schoology's terms state they offer some flexibility in how users can control who sees what content, but the configuration options should be reviewed by a school administrator to ensure that visibility settings align with community norms and expectations. Schoology is an LMS which collects a significant amount of information about students and their work product. Schoology's terms state that data is encrypted while in transit, but they do not provide details about whether data is protected while at rest. Lastly, Schoology's terms state they require schools to obtain parental consent under COPPA, but do not define themselves as a school official under FERPA.

Schoology can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on Schoology’s website, iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. 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
arrow
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.
12

The terms of Schoology state they offer some flexibility in how users can control who sees what content, but the configuration options should be reviewed by a school administrator to ensure that visibility settings align with community norms and expectations. However, the terms do not define specific methods of flagging inappropriate content, or of auditing content. Lastly, Schoology's terms state that students of any age cannot share their profiles publicly outside of their classroom or school.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
arrow
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.
39

Schoology is an LMS which collects a significant amount of information about students and their work product. Schoology's term state they do not share information outside of the school or with any third parties except for required third party service providers. The terms specify that data will be retained as long as an account is active, or if the data is needed to provide the services, and define a time-period of 30 days after which account data will be deleted.

The terms specify that the vendor may also share de-identified and/or aggregated data with third parties. In addition, Schoology's terms state they may use tracking technologies from third party service providers with whom they partner to display advertising for Schoology on other sites based upon a user's Web browsing activity.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
arrow
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.
45

Schoology's terms state that data is encrypted while in transit, but they do not provide details about whether data is protected while at rest. Additionally, the terms do not contain information about a breach notification policy.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
arrow
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.
65

Schoology's terms state they require schools to obtain parental consent under COPPA, but do not define themselves as a school official under FERPA. The terms state the Service allows schools, parents, teachers, and students to review, edit, and delete their information by logging into the application or submitting a request.

In addition, the terms state parents have the right to consent to Schoology's use of their child's personal information without having to also consent to disclosure of that information to third parties by contacting the school administrator.

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.