Office of the University Registrar
FERPA for Faculty
The public posting of grades either by the student's name, institutional student identification number or Social Security number, without the student's written permission, is a violation of FERPA. Even with names obscured, numeric student identifiers are considered personally identifiable information and therefore violate FERPA. Instructors can assign students unique numbers or codes that can be used to post grades. However, the order of the posting must not be alphabetic.
Leaving personally identifiable, graded papers unattended for students to view is no different from posting grades in the hallway. If these papers contain "personally identifiable" information, leaving them unattended for anyone to see is a violation of FERPA if the instructor has not obtained the written permission of each student to do so.
Faculty members are normally considered "school officials" but do not have access to student academic records unless their normal job duties specifically require access. The faculty member will have to demonstrate "a legitimate educational interest" in his or her request to access student records, such as advising students, retention study, etc.
Such things as progress in a course, deficiencies in a subject area, scores and grades on papers, exams, etc. are all examples of personally identifiable information that make up part of the student's education record. This information is protected under FERPA and parents may not have access unless the student has provided written authorization that specifically identifies what information may be released to the parents.
If non-directory information is needed to resolve a crisis or emergency situation, an education institution may release that information if the institution determines that the information is "necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals."
Written permission of the student is required for a letter of recommendation if any information included in the recommendation is part of the "education record" (grades, GPA and other non-directory information).