Copyright

FERPA Case Law: Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo

Instructor: Kristina Dougherty

Kris has taught science, math, and conservation to high school, college and graduate students, and she has a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and a J.D.

This lesson briefly describes FERPA and explores an important Supreme Court case that interprets whether FERPA requires written, parental consent for peer grading in public classrooms.

FERPA and Peer Grading

If I walked into your school tomorrow and asked for your grades, do you think your school would give them to me? Probably not. Grades feel very personal. You might even suspect that a school would be breaking a law if they handed over grades to me, a complete stranger. And, you would be right! In fact, a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) says so.

This law protects the civil rights of students who attend schools that receive federal funding. FERPA gives the parents of those students the right to inspect, review, challenge and correct their children's education records. It also prevents federally-funded schools from releasing the education records of students without the written consent of their parents or guardians.

But, what about peer grading, where students score each other's work as the teacher explains the correct answers to the class? Is this form of grade sharing allowed? In Owasso Independent School District v. Falvo, the Supreme Court was called upon to decide whether peer grading violated FERPA.

Students engaged in peer grading
two students

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