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Privacy Evaluation for Schoology

Last updated January 17, 2020

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.

Safety

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.

Privacy

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.

Security

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.

Compliance

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.

Data Collection
SCORE: 40%

What data does it collect?

  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.
  • Unclear whether this product collects geolocation data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects biometric or health data.
  • Behavioral data are collected.
  • Unclear whether this product collects sensitive data.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
Data Sharing
SCORE: 65%

What data does it share?

  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • The categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Unclear whether use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Data are shared with third-party service providers.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
  • Unclear whether this product supports social or federated login.
  • Contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
Data Security
SCORE: 45%

How does it secure data?

  • Unclear whether a user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
  • Account creation is required.
  • Parental controls or managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether two-factor account protection is available.
  • Unclear whether third-party contractual security protections are required.
  • Industry best practices are used to protect data.
  • Unclear whether this product limits employee or physical access to user information.
  • All data in transit are encrypted.
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data at rest.
  • Notice is not provided in the event of a data breach.
Data Rights
SCORE: 75%

What rights do I have to the data?

  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
  • Users can control their information through privacy settings.
  • Users can create or upload content.
  • Unclear whether users retain ownership of their data.
  • Processes to access and review user data are available.
  • Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to delete data are available.
  • Processes to delete user data are available.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to download their data.
Data Sold
SCORE: 25%

Is the data sold?

  • Unclear whether data are sold or rented to third parties.
  • Unclear whether users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • User information can be transferred to a third party.
  • Users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
  • Unclear whether user information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
  • Unclear whether third-party transfers are contractually required to use the same privacy practices.
  • User information is shared in an anonymous or deidentified format.
  • Unclear whether the vendor describes their deidentification process of user information.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.
Data Safety
SCORE: 30%

How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
  • Unclear whether this product displays personal information publicly.
  • Unclear whether this product allows users to control how their data are displayed.
  • Unclear whether user-created content is reviewed, screened, or monitored by the vendor.
  • Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Unclear whether social interactions between users are moderated.
  • Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
Ads & Tracking
SCORE: 20%

Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
  • Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
  • Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted 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 creates and uses data profiles for data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
  • The vendor can send marketing messages.
  • Unclear whether this vendor provides promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt-out of traditional, contextual, or behavioral advertising.
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
Parental Consent
SCORE: 80%

Can I provide parental consent?

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Vendor does have actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • Children's privacy is applicable.
  • Unclear whether this product indicates COPPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Parental consent is required.
  • Parental consent is limited with respect to third parties.
  • Parents can withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Unclear whether this product deletes children's personal information if collected without parental consent.
  • Parental consent notice and method for submission are provided.
School Purpose
SCORE: 50%

Is the product intended for school?

  • Intended for students.
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Intended for teachers.
  • Product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Product does create education records.
  • Unclear whether this product provides notification of a contract or additional rights.
  • Unclear whether this product designates the vendor as a school official.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
  • Unclear whether the vendor indicates FERPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Unclear whether this product discloses directory information.

Common Sense Standard Privacy Report (SPR)

The standard privacy report (SPR) displays all the privacy practices from a product's policies in a single, easy-to-read outline. The report shows a green check mark for better privacy practices and an orange alert for risky or unclear practices. This alert indicates that more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.

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 help educators make informed decisions about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria will always be freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and our information security primer. 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.