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How Long Do Schools Keep Records Of Students (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Kept For At Least 5 To 60 Years

A student’s academic record (sometimes referred to as a transcript or mark sheet) is a complete record of all the academic courses taken and the grades earned by a student during their school enrollment. 

In the United States, transcripts are typically generated and handled by the local high school, college, or university registrar’s Office.

The transcript will list each course taken, the grade earned for that course, and any credits granted. In some cases (especially at the post-secondary level), grades may be accompanied by narrative evaluations from professors who have taught the student in question. 

How Long Do Schools Keep Records Of Students?

TypeDuration
Student records storage5 to 60 years
TranscriptsIndefinite period

Generally, schools keep student records for about seven years. However, one may keep some records for longer periods due to the specific nature of the information; for example, a school may keep transcripts indefinitely to track a student’s academic progress.

Official transcripts will also show the degree(s) received and any honors bestowed upon the graduate. In addition, one can send copies of transcripts to other educational institutions.

Most schools keep student records for 60 years. However, some states have stricter laws requiring that records be kept longer. Additionally, schools may keep certain records (such as transcripts) indefinitely. 

The importance of records cannot be understated.

Transcripts are required for almost every application process beyond high school. Whether applying to college, graduate school, law school, or medical school, having an accurate and complete record of academic achievements is key. Additionally, many employers will request copies of transcripts as part of the job application process.

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Even beyond that practical use, transcripts reflect one’s academic career. They show how hard one has worked and what the results are.

Therefore, schools keep student records to track academic progress and determine eligibility for certain programs and scholarships. Records are also used to identify students who may need additional assistance or support. In addition, some colleges and universities require transcripts from high schools to consider an applicant for admission.

Why Would Schools Keep Records Of Students For So Long?

The need for records varies by state and sometimes by the school; for example, in some states, laws are mandating that schools keep track of students’ progress through the system so they can be prepared better when they enter college or a different type of education system (such as vocational). 

Other times, it’s because the district wants to make sure all their students are accounted for, especially those who may have left without graduating or those who were homeschooled. 

There could also be security reasons behind keeping detailed records on individual students — just as banks keep account information on everyone who has an account with them, schools want access to specific data about each student.

Another simple reason is that schools need records of students to provide them with a clear and accurate picture of their academic performance and the progress they are making. One can use these records to help improve students’ learning opportunities moving forward, ultimately leading to better results for everyone involved.

There are a variety of circumstances in which one can share student records. Typically, school districts will disclose student records to third parties with the student’s parents’ or guardians’ written consent. 

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However, there are exceptions to this rule; for example, school districts may disclose student records without parental consent in an emergency or when required by law. Additionally, school districts may disclose student records to other agencies or institutions for research or program evaluation.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to keeping student records. One of the most important benefits is that it allows educators to track a student’s academic progress over time and identify any areas of struggle. One can use this information to provide targeted support to help the student succeed.

Another important benefit of keeping student records is that one can use them to prove academic achievement. This can be helpful for students who want to apply for scholarships or admission into graduate schools or other professional programs.

Finally, maintaining student records provides educators with data that one can use to measure school performance and make important decisions about curriculum and instruction in the long run and for future students.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/106342669900700105 
  2. https://academic.oup.com/acn/article/19/2/227/2358?login=true 
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