CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS
OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND IMPROVEMENT 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


                         
SUBJECT:   STANDARD FOR MAINTAINING CONFIDENTIALITY      
                         
EFFECTIVE DATE: 02/09/87   CES STANDARD 87-04-03
                         
PURPOSE: To ensure that the rights of individuals responding to CES surveys are protected and that confidentiality of responses is maintained.    
                         
  o As required by OMB, respondents must be told whether or not participation in the survey is voluntary and about the legislative or executive mandate for the survey.
                         
  o Respondents must be told in a cover letter.or in instructions whether responses will be kept confidential and what provisions will be made to ensure this confidentiality.    
                         
  o In developing RFPs for surveys, Project Officers must describe the extent to which confidentiality must be maintained.   The more sensitive the data, the more it is important that voluntary participants know that individual responses will be not identifiable.
                         
  o Where absolute confidentiality has been promised or is required by law, Project Officers should not physically accept from a contractor a document or tape that gives the identification of individuals.
                         
  o In reporting on surveys and preparing data tapes, care must be taken to ensure that individual respondents cannot be identified where confidentiality has been promised.   If the nonzero value of a column, row or total is based on information from one or two respondents, the cell is considered sensitive and must be suppressed in such ways that the cell cannot be constructed from values in other cells. Suppressed cells must be flagged.  
                         
RELATED STANDARDS:                  
                         
 
o
  CES
  Standard for Planning Statistical Surveys, 87-01-01
     
 

o

  CES
  Standard for RFP Development for Surveys, 87-02-01
     
 
o
  CES
  Standard for Monitoring Survey Contracts, 87-02-02
     
 

o

  CES
  Standard for Standard for Survey Documentation, 87-04-01
     
                         
RELATED CHECKLISTS, FORMS AND DOCUMENTS: