Our school uses a data tool call "IGOR". Because of the various committees I am on, and meetings I have had to go to this year, I am somewhat familiar with it, although most of our staff is not. IGOR has been a valuable tool this year as we are revamping our assessments and looking at the common core. In doing so, we have been able to pull specific data from IGOR. for example: student achievement for specific types of questions, compare to other districts, look at the decline or achievement over the years which allows us to determine are we doing things differently or do we need to change. IGOR is helps us to know what changes we need to make for the following year, or what things to leave alone.
FERPA/HIPAA laws are important to project the student and families. Students with IEP's, 504's, disciplinary issues, etc. have the right to the protection of their privacy. Most information schools have on students would not be of interest to anyone, but there are many students who need laws like this to protect them. Parents who are separated or divorced need to be able to access their child's record, but I have seen secretaries tell them no because they are not on the emergency cards. FERPA states both parents have the right to the records. Basically, as stated above, FERPA and HEPAA were created to protect students privacy.