Overview

Formative allows teachers to create assignments for students and receive personalized feedback on learning outcomes in real time. The terms of Formative state they provide certain features that may allow users to share information with other users. For example, a teacher may choose to populate their profile with their name, school, and the grades and subjects that they teach. The terms of Formative state they collect “personally identifiable information” or “personal data” from users such as their full name, email address, or a photograph that can be used to identify a user. Formative's terms state that to protect users' privacy and security, they take reasonable steps to verify a user's identity before granting them account access or making corrections to their information. Lastly, the terms of Formative state that if a user registers for the service and provides their personal information, they can update their account and information at any time by reviewing, modifying, or deleting their profile information.

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

Safety

The terms of Formative state they provide certain features that may allow users to share information with other Users. For example, a teacher may choose to populate their profile with their name, school, and the grades and subjects that they teach. Or teachers may ask questions that are visible to other users of Formative. The terms specify that Formative contains user generated content, and also may contain message boards, personal web pages, forums or other interactive features. However, the terms state Student Users cannot post to public discussion forums and their profile is not shared publicly, and only the Parent and other permitted Teachers can see the User’s profile. Lastly, the terms state that parents and teachers should be aware that a Student User may enter free-form text which could include Personal Information that would be visible to other Users..

Privacy

The terms of Formative state they collect “personally identifiable information” or “personal data” from users such as their full name, email address, or a photograph that can be used to identify a user. In addition, the terms specify they may collect usage information about use of certain features on the service, such as the number of questions students have attempted, the points students have received, and the academic concepts present in the assignments teachers create. Formative's terms also specify that in order to provide a personalized learning and high-quality experience for their users, they may use various technologies that automatically collect certain non-personal information from their browser or device.

The terms state Formative may work with business partners to improve their services or offerings and may disclose automatically collected and other aggregate non-Personal Information to authorized business partners to conduct research on online education or assist in understanding the usage, viewing, and demographic patterns for certain programs, content, services, promotions, and/or functionality. Parents and Teachers should be aware they may withdraw permission for their child or student's data to be used for research purposes at any time by contacting Formative without discrimination of any benefits or ability to use the service.

Formative's terms also state they will never provide behaviorally targeted ads to students and will not rent or sell Personal Information that they collect from users with third parties. Lastly, Formative's terms state they will not share Personal Information or other non-personal technical information with other third-party organizations for their marketing or promotional use without users' consent or except as part of a specific program or feature for which users will have the ability to opt-in.

Security

Formative's terms state that to protect users' privacy and security, they take reasonable steps to verify a user's identity before granting them account access or making corrections to their information. In addition, Formative's terms specify they use certain physical, managerial, and technical safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of users' Personal Information. Formative's terms state that its employees, agents, and contractors must have a legitimate business reason to access Personal Information users provide and that Formative is operated and managed on servers located within the United States.

The terms also specify when users enter sensitive information, they encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL) or similar technologies, but do not disclose whether users' information is also encrypted while at rest. Formative's terms state that if they learn of a data security incident that compromises or appears to compromise users' Personal Information, then they will attempt to notify users electronically so that they can take appropriate protective steps. In addition, Formative may also post a notice on their service if a data security incident occurs.

Lastly, if Formative needs to share users' data with a research partner, the terms state they will use encrypted files before transfer and adhere to strong password and password transfer procedures. The terms state they will use a Secure Shell (SSH) or secure file transfer protocols (SFTP) to share the data. Upon completion of the research project, Formative's terms state all personally identifiable data will be destroyed by the independent researchers within 60 days. Any publications (infographics, reports, research papers, etc.) that result from research will not identify a user or their school in any way. Results will be reported in aggregate, and researchers will follow federal masking guidelines. Formative's terms state their research partners will never disclose any personally identifiable information to anyone outside of the project.

Compliance

The terms of Formative state that if a user registers for the service and provides Personal Information, they can update their account and information at any time by reviewing, modifying, or deleting their profile information. In addition, the terms state a parent can modify or delete Student User accounts or remove Student Users from view of any Teachers. Formative's terms specify they also take measures to restrict any collection or disclosure of Personal Information from children less than 13 years of age. A student can be registered to use the service through his or her school, or through an integration with the service that is supported by the student’s school, or by teachers, tutors and other similar adults who assist in the educational process (“Teachers”) who have taken steps to obtain parental consent.

In addition, the terms specify that if a Student User attempts to register for the services, Formative will request the email address of that Student User’s Parent in order to seek consent from their Parent. Student Users' information is restricted during their registration attempt, except the Parent email address for purposes of seeking consent. Formative's terms state that in compliance with COPPA and FERPA, parents have the ability to control information about their Student User and can refuse future collection or use of their child’s Personal Information, or they can delete their Student User’s account or contact Formative to do so on their behalf.

Overall Score

Every privacy rating includes an overall score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The score is best used is as an indicator of how much additional work a person will need to do to make an informed decision about a product.

Basic ScoreFull Score
Comprehensive Assessment9366

Concerns

The privacy evaluation process summarizes the policies of an application or service into concern categories based on a subset of evaluation questions that can be used to quickly identify particular practices of a vendor’s policies. These concerns are composed of evaluation questions that can be used to calculate scores relative to that concern.

ConcernBasic ScoreFull Score
Data Collection: Protecting personal information7555
Data Sharing: Protecting data from third parties10080
Data Security: Protecting against unauthorized access10075
Data Rights: Controlling rights to data8885
Data Sold: Preventing sale of data7570
Data Safety: Promoting responsible use7560
Ads & Tracking: Prohibiting the exploitation of users' decision making process10070
Parental Consent: Protecting children’s personal information10085
School Purpose: Following student data privacy laws10060

Statutes

Each statute or regulation is associated with one or more evaluation questions. As such, we can calculate scores for each statute or regulation using only those questions associated with the statute or regulation. Each specific statute or regulation's score serves as an indirect proxy indicating the likelihood of the application or service satisfying all of its compliance obligations.

StatuteBasic ScoreFull Score
California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)9265
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)9175
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)9463
Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA)9673
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)9674

Privacy Policy Details

1: Transparency

1.1: Policy Version
  • Privacy policies do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Privacy policies do not indicate a changelog or past policy version is available.
1.2: Policy Notice
  • Users are notified if there are any material changes to the policies.
  • Privacy policies indicate the method used to notify a user when policies are updated.
1.3: Policy Changes
  • Unclear whether users are notified prior to any material changes to the policies.
  • Changes to the policies are effective immediately and continued use of the product indicates consent.
1.4: Policy Coverage
  • Privacy policies indicate the products that are covered by the policies.
1.5: Policy Contact
  • Users can contact the vendor about any privacy policy questions, complaints, or material changes to the policies.
1.6: Policy Principles
  • Privacy policies do indicate any privacy principles, layered notices, or a table of contents.
1.7: Policy Language
  • Privacy policies are not available in multiple languages.
1.8: Intended Use
  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Intended for students.
  • Intended for teachers.

2: Focused Collection

2.1: Data Collection
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Geolocation data are not collected.
  • Unclear whether this product collects biometric or health data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects behavioral data.
  • Unclear whether this product collects sensitive data.
  • Non-personally identifiable information is collected.
  • Unclear whether free or reduced lunch status is collected.
2.2: Data Source
  • Personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is collected online.
2.3: Data Exclusion
  • Unclear whether specific types of personal information are not collected.
  • Unclear whether specific types of collected information are excluded from the privacy policy.
2.4: Data Limitation
  • Collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.

3: Data Sharing

3.1: Data Shared With Third Parties
  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • The categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
3.2: Data Use by Third Parties
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Data are shared for analytics.
  • Data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
3.3: Data Not Shared With Third Parties
  • Unclear whether there are specific categories of information that are not shared with third parties.
3.4: Data Sold to Third Parties
  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
3.5: Third-Party Data Acquisition
  • Personal information from users is acquired from third parties.
3.6: Third-Party Links
  • Links to third-party external websites are not age-appropriate.
3.7: Third-Party Data Access
  • Third parties are authorized to access a user's information.
3.8: Third-Party Data Collection
  • Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
3.9: Third-Party Data Misuse
  • Unclear whether personal information can be deleted from a third party if found to be misused.
3.10: Third-Party Service Providers
  • Data are shared with third-party service providers.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
3.11: Third-Party Affiliates
  • Unclear whether the categories of third parties that receive personal information are indicated.
3.12: Third-Party Policies
  • Unclear whether links to privacy policies of third-party companies are available.
3.13: Third-Party Data Combination
  • Data can be combined with data from third-party sources.
  • Unclear whether data shared with third parties can be combined by third parties for their own purposes.
3.14: Third-Party Authentication
  • Social or federated login is supported.
  • Personal information from social or federated login providers is collected.
  • Personal Information is shared with social or federated login providers.
3.15: De-identified or Anonymized Data
  • User information is shared in an anonymous or deidentified format.
  • Unclear whether the vendor describes their deidentification process of user information.
3.16: Third-Party Contractual Obligations
  • Contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying deidentified information.

4: Respect for Context

4.1: Data Use
  • Use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The purpose for which data atr collected is indicated.
4.2: Data Combination
  • Combined information is treated as personally identifiable information (PII).
4.3: Data Notice
  • Notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
4.4: Data Changes
  • Consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
4.5: Policy Enforcement
  • Accounts may be terminated if users engage in any prohibited activities.

5: Individual Control

5.1: User Content
  • Users can create or upload content.
5.2: User Consent
  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
5.3: Remedy Process
  • A grievance or remedy mechanism is available for users to file a complaint.
5.4: Data Settings
  • Users can control their information through privacy settings.
5.5: Data Disclosure
  • Users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • Unclear whether users can request to know what personal information has been shared with third parties for commercial purposes.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided in the event the vendor receives a government or legal request for a user’s information.
5.6: Intellectual Property
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • A copyright license is claimed to data or content collected from a user.
  • Any copyright license to a user's data is not limited in scope or duration.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided to users when their content is removed or disabled because of an alleged copyright violation.

6: Access and Accuracy

6.1: Data Access
  • Processes to access and review user data are available.
  • Permissions, roles, or access controls are available to restrict who has access to data.
  • Processes to review data are available for the school, parents, or students.
6.2: Data Integrity
  • The vendor does maintain the accuracy of data they collect.
6.3: Data Correction
  • Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to modify data are available.
  • Unclear whether the time period for the vendor to modify inaccurate data is indicated.
6.4: Data Retention
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • The retention time period of a user's data can be changed upon a valid inspection request.
6.5: Data Deletion
  • Data are deleted when no longer necessary.
  • A user's data are deleted upon account cancellation or termination.
  • Processes to delete user data are available.
  • Processes for the school, parents, or students to delete data are available.
  • The time period for the vendor to delete data is indicated.
6.6: Data Portability
  • Unclear whether this product provides users the ability to download their data.
  • Unclear whether a user can assign an authorized account manager or legacy contact.

7: Data Transfer

7.1: Data Handling
  • User information can be transferred to a third party.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided to users if the vendor assigns its rights or delegates its duties to another company.
  • Users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
7.2: Transfer Request
  • User information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
7.3: Onward Contractual Obligations
  • Third-party transfer is contractually required to use the same privacy practices.

8: Security

8.1: User Identity
  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
8.2: User Account
  • Account creation is not required.
  • Parental controls or managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether two-factor account protection is available.
8.3: Third-Party Security
  • Unclear whether third-party contractual security protections are required.
8.4: Data Confidentiality
  • Industry best practices are used to protect data.
  • Employee or physical access to user information is limited.
8.5: Data Transmission
  • All data in transit are encrypted.
8.6: Data Storage
  • All data at rest are encrypted.
  • Personal information of users is stored with a third party.
8.7: Data Breach
  • Notice is provided in the event of a data breach.
8.8: Data Oversight
  • Unclear whether this product performs data-privacy and security-compliance audits.

9: Responsible Use

9.1: Social Interactions
  • Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
9.2: Data Visibility
  • Personal information is displayed publicly.
  • Users can control how their data are displayed.
9.3: Monitor and Review
  • User-created content is not reviewed, screened, or monitored by the vendor.
  • User-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Social interactions between users are not moderated.
  • Unclear whether social interactions of users are logged.
9.4: Report Content
  • Users can filter or block inappropriate content.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
9.5: Internet Safety
  • The vendor provides links to tools or processes that support safe and appropriate social interactions.

10: Advertising

10.1: Vendor Communications
  • A user can receive service- or administrative-related communications from the vendor.
10.2: Traditional Advertising
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
10.3: Behavioral Advertising
  • Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.
10.4: Ad Tracking
  • Data are not collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are not used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are not created and used for data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
10.5: Filtered Advertising
  • Unclear whether children may receive inappropriate advertisements.
10.6: Marketing Communications
  • The vendor can send marketing messages.
  • The vendor does provide promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
10.7: Unsubscribe
  • 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.
10.8: Do Not Track
  • Unclear whether this product responds to Do Not Track or other opt-out mechanisms.
  • Unclear whether the vendor provides a method for users to opt-out from third-party tracking.

11: Compliance

11.1: Children Under 13
  • Vendor does have actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • Children's privacy is applicable.
  • Account creation is restricted for users under 13 years of age.
  • Unclear whether this product restricts in-app purchases for users under 13 years of age.
  • Unclear whether the vendor participates in an FTC-approved COPPA safe harbor program.
11.2: Students in K–12
  • Product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Product does create education records.
  • Notification of a contract or additional rights is provided.
  • Unclear whether this product designates the vendor as a school official.
11.3: Parental Consent
  • Parental consent is required.
  • Unclear whether this product limits parental consent with respect to third parties.
  • Parents can withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Children's personal information is deleted if collected without parental consent.
  • Parental consent notice and method for submission are provided.
  • Unclear whether the vendor can use collected information to support the “internal operations” of the product.
  • COPPA parental consent exceptions are not indicated.
  • Unclear whether the vendor indicates FERPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Unclear whether this product discloses directory information.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
11.4: Legal Requirements
  • The legal jurisdiction that applies to the laws governing any dispute is indicated.
  • Unclear whether a user is required to waive the right to a jury trial, or settle any disputes by arbitration.
  • Unclear whether a user is required to waive the right to join a class action lawsuit.
  • A vendor will disclose personal information to law enforcement.
11.5: Certification
  • The vendor has signed a privacy pledge or received a privacy certification.
11.6: International Laws
  • A user's data are subject to International data transfer or jurisdiction laws, such as the GDPR.
  • The vendor has indicated it is a Data Controller or Data Processor.