- We’re deeply committed to creating a safe and secure online environment for you.
- We do not sell your personal information to third parties.
- We strive to provide you with access to and control over the information you give us, and we take the protection of your information very seriously.
- We take extra precautions for our younger learners, including restricting student accounts to automatically block features that would allow a student to post or disclose personal information.
- We do not advertise on Formative. We use your information to provide you with a better learning experience, not to sell you products.
We strive to adhere to U.S. federal, certain state, and certain international regulations. This includes (but may not be limited to) FERPA, COPPA, GDPR, and California AB 1584. We highly recommend that you read our policies and terms of service to make sure that we adhere to your local regulatory needs as we make no guarantee of compliance for your specific needs. If you have any questions about how we handle User Data, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Data Subjects in the EU, please see our Data Processing Agreement.
Information according to Art 27 EU GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a Regulation of the European Union, and, from 25 May 2018, it applies to all organizations that collect and process the personal data of EU citizens.
As a responsible, forward-looking business, Formative recognizes the need to comply with the GDPR and to ensure that effective measures are in place to protect the personal data of our clients, employees, and other stakeholders.
Our commitment to the security of personal data extends to all levels of our organization and is demonstrated through relevant policies, and the provision of appropriate resources, to establish and develop effective data protection and information security controls.
How we collect and use data
We take the information you provide to us very seriously, and we strive to put you in control of decisions around your information.
Formative collects the following information about you and your use of our Properties:
When you register for, browse, and use our Properties, you may provide to Formative what is generally called “personally identifiable information” or “personal data” (such as your full name, email address, or a photograph of yourself) that can be used to identify you. At Formative, we call this data “Personal Information.”
Information from Integrated Services like Google or Clever.
Information about your use of our Properties and other User-provided Information.
We may collect usage information about your use of certain features on our Properties, such as the number of questions students have attempted, the points students have received, and the academic concepts present in the assignments teachers create. This enables us to better tailor educational experiences that are most appropriate for you and your students.
Information obtained from other Users.
We make available certain features on our Properties that allow other Users to provide us information about you. This information may include Personal Information. Generally, this occurs when parents or teachers provide information relating to a Student User. For example, a parent may register an account for their child and provide us with certain information like the Child’s first and last name.
We may collect and use information about your location (such as your city or school) to provide you with tailored educational experiences for your region, but we don’t collect the precise geolocation of you or your device. You may be able to change the settings on your computer or mobile device to prevent it from providing us with any location information.
Information from Other Sources.
Formative uses this information in the following ways:
To enhance our Properties and the services we provide.
Formative uses the information you provide or that we collect to enhance our relationship with you and to operate, maintain, enhance, and provide all of the features and services found on our Properties. Formative, for instance, remembers your recent activity so we can recommend the most appropriate content for you on your next visit. If you have given Formative consent, we may use your Personal Information to provide you with information about Formative’s features, services, and other offerings that may be of interest to you. Under certain circumstances and if we obtain your consent (for example, if you submit a testimonial and agree to make it public), we may post your Personal Information on our Properties.
To understand how you and other Users use our Properties.
Formative uses all of the information that you provide or that we collect from Users to understand and analyze the usage trends, learning behaviors, and preferences of our Users; to improve the way the Properties work and look; and to create new features and functionality. For more information, please see the following “Technologies” section.
To enable your participation in Formative partnership arrangements.
Formative will not share Personal Information with other third-party organizations for their marketing or promotional use without your consent or except as part of a specific program or feature for which you will have the ability to opt-in. You can grant us permission to share your Personal Information with authorized partners, not-for-profit organizations, and other entities that are not affiliated with Formative. In these cases we will only provide to these third parties the information you have authorized or asked us to share to these third parties.
Formative may send information or offers to you on behalf of these third parties. For example, if we partner with a not-for-profit organization running a contest in your region and send you an email notifying you of the partnership, we will only share your information with the third party if you opt-in to participate in the contest; and if so, the information we would share would be limited to what is needed to facilitate your participation in the contest and enable you to redeem your prize.
A core part of our service is to relay data to school administrators and other authorized stakeholders. Because of this, school organizations frequently need to look back at previously collected data as well as whether the User is still active or not. For these purposes, we will retain your information for as long as your account is active, as is authorized by your school organization, or as is reasonably useful for your school organization’s potential use. An authorized school representative or you (if you are so authorized or using for personal reasons) may request deletion of your account and data by emailing email@example.com. If the account is no longer active and the school organization has not requested the data within 10 years, we will purge your data.
To provide a personalized learning and high-quality experience for our Users, we may use various technologies that automatically record certain technical information from your browser or device, including standard log files, web beacons, or pixel tags. This technical information may include your Internet Protocol (IP) address, device or browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring or exit pages, clickstream data, operating system, and the dates & times that you visit the Website. We do this to better understand how our Users are using our Website so that we can improve site functionality and the services we offer you.
Like most websites, whether or not you are a registered member, we may send one or more cookies – small text files containing a string of alphanumeric characters – to your computer. Cookies remember information about your activities on a website and enable us to provide you with a more personalized learning experience. Formative may use both session cookies and persistent cookies. A session cookie disappears automatically after you close your browser. A persistent cookie remains after you close your browser and may be used by your browser on subsequent visits to the Website. You can, however, remove a persistent cookie at any time. Please review your web browser “Help” file to learn the proper way to modify your cookie settings. However, without cookies you will not have access to certain services and features on the Website.
Formative also uses Local Storage Objects (LSOs) such as HTML5 to store content information and preferences. Third parties with whom we partner to provide certain features on our site may use LSOs such as HTML5 to collect and store information. Various browsers may offer their own management tools for removing HTML5 LSOs. Please consult your browser’s “Help” function to learn more.
Formative is a data processor and engages certain onward subprocessors that may process personal data submitted to the Properties by the controller. These subprocessors are listed below, with a description of the service and the location where data is hosted.
- Acute (USA) - customer feedback system
- Amazon Web Services (USA) - hosting and infrastructure services
- BareMetrics (USA) - payment processing analysis
- CloudConvert (EU) - document file conversion
- Digital Ocean (USA) - hosting and infrastructure services
- Google Analytics (USA) - track site usage
- Heroku (USA) - hosting and infrastructure services
- HubSpot (USA) - sales and marketing tools
- Intercom (USA) - customer communication and support
- Lightstep (USA) - application monitoring and observability
- LogRocket (USA) - customer monitoring and product analytics
- Mailgun (USA) - email
- Pendo (USA) - product analytics
- Pipe (EU) - video & audio recording
- Simplesat (EU) - customer feedback system
- Stripe (USA) - payment processing
How we share or transfer data
Formative takes great care to protect the information you provide us. We do not rent or sell Personal Information that we collect from Users with third parties. We also take great measures to restrict any collection or disclosure of Personal Information from students.
Formative will disclose User information only as described below:
If you want information shared with other Users, we’ll share it for you.
We provide certain features that may allow you to share information with other Users. For example, if you are a teacher, you may choose to populate your profile with your name, school, and the grades & subjects that you teach. Or you may ask questions that are visible to other Users of Formative. Whenever you share information with other Users of our Properties, any Personal Information that you choose to include in, or is associated with, such User Postings will be accessible by such Users. As with most online services, once you make your Personal Information available to others in any of these ways, it may be collected and used by the recipients without restriction.
We may share data with third-party applications that you authorize.
In the future, Third-party application developers and service providers (commonly known as “App Developers“) may build complementary services for our platform, such as a mobile application for visually-impaired learners to access our resources. You may request we share your information with App Developers by connecting to the application or service and approving access to your Formative account.
We may share anonymous or aggregate data to improve our services and learn more about our Users.
In certain occasions, Formative may work with business partners to improve our services or offerings. We may disclose automatically collected and other aggregate non-Personal Information to authorized business partners to conduct research on online education or assist in understanding the usage, viewing, and demographic patterns for certain programs, content, services, promotions, and/or functionality on our Properties.
We may share identifiable data with research organizations to improve our services and learn more about our Users for research purposes.
To better understand how we can improve Formative for our Users, we may share automatically collected data about how you use Formative with independent research organizations for the purposes of research only. Our research partners must abide by strict ethical standards when working with your data, including:
- Strict data privacy standards. If the research must use personally identifiable data, such as names and email addresses, the research team will keep this information in a secure, password protected database saved on a secure server. For all analyses, personally identifiable data will be removed from analytic files, and the research partner will instead use a study assigned research ID to identify different Formative Users. Only the research study team will have access to these data for research purposes only (e.g., inviting you to participate in an online survey).
- Secure data transfer protocols. If we need to share your data with a research partner, we will use encrypted files before transferring and adhere to strong password and password-transfer procedures. We will use a Secure Shell (SSH) or secure file transfer protocols (SFTP) to share the data.
- Strict data destruction policies. Upon completion of the research project, all personally identifiable data will be destroyed by the independent researchers within 60 days.
- Strict reporting standards that do not endanger User privacy. Any publications (infographics, reports, research papers, etc.) that result from this research will not identify you or your school in any way. Results will be reported in aggregate, and researchers will follow federal masking guidelines. Our research partners will never disclose any personally identifiable information to anyone outside of the project.
- Review of all research activities by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). All research conducted by third party research partners will be reviewed by IRBs. The purpose of this review board is to determine if planned research studies will meet high ethical standards with a focus on protecting your data. Research will only be conducted if the IRB approves the research plan. If you are concerned that your data will be used in a study by our partners, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will provide you with IRB contact information for all studies involving your data.
- If your data is used in research, you have the right to contact the research team and ask questions. If you would like to know if your data has been used for research purposes, please contact us at email@example.com. All research we engage in is designed to be low risk, meaning that there are little to no risk of your identity being revealed or of discomfort to you. You may benefit by allowing researchers to examine your data because our goal in conducting research is to make a better, easier-to-use, and more effective product with the ultimate goal of improving teaching and learning. Your data helps us better understand where we can improve.
- By agreeing to the Terms of Service, you agree to allow us to share your personally identifiable data to research organizations who follow the above criteria. If you do not wish your data to be used for research purposes, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will make sure that no one outside of Formative may see your data. At any time, you may withdraw permission for your data to be used for research purposes, without penalty or loss of any benefits to which you are otherwise entitled, by emailing email@example.com.
We will share data when required by law.
Formative may also disclose User information if required to do so by law or if we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with local, state, federal, international, or other applicable laws (such as U.S. Copyright law); or to respond to a court order, judicial, or other government subpoena, warrant, or administrative request. In some cases, we may make such disclosures without first providing notice to Users.
We may share data in the context of a change of business, including a merger or acquisition.
In the event that Formative is acquired by or merged with a third-party entity, we may transfer or assign the information that we have collected from Users as part of such merger, acquisition, sale, or other change of control. We will only transfer this information in one of the following cases:
- The Successor Entity does not reduce our security and privacy practices with regards to student data. One way to achieve this is through the entity similarly signing the Student Data Privacy Pledge.
- If, after we send a notice telling Users of the sale and potential transfer of data and giving them the option to deny the data transfer, a User has not replied within 15 days.
If both of the two above scenarios do not hold true, we will not transfer your data.
We may share data when necessary or appropriate to protect Formative or others.
Formative may disclose information that we believe, in good faith, is appropriate or necessary to take precautions against liability; to protect Formative from fraudulent, abusive, or unlawful uses; to investigate and defend ourselves against any third-party claims or allegations; to assist government enforcement agencies; to protect the security or integrity of our Properties; or to protect the rights, property, or personal safety of Formative, our Users, or others.
Limitations on Access to your Personal Information by Employees and Authorized Parties.
General Policies on Working with Third Parties
When dealing with Third Parties in any data transfer context mentioned above, we will only do so if they adhere to similar privacy policies to ourselves, safeguarding student data at a similar or definitively same level to the Student Data Privacy Pledge.
Your choice and options in our data collection, use, and transfer
You can choose to not provide us with Personal Information.
You may always decline to share your Personal Information with Formative. Registration is not required to access many portions of our Properties. If you decline to register, however, Formative will not be able to provide to you certain features and functionalities found on our Properties. You may later enable or access those features by providing Formative with the necessary Personal Information.
You can edit or delete Personal Information in our records.
We want you to have access to your information so that you can help keep it as accurate as possible. If you register and provide Formative with Personal Information, you may update your account and information at any time by reviewing your profile information. To delete your account permanently or make other changes, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents can modify or delete Student User accounts. If you experience any difficulties in this process, please contact us as described below.
You can disconnect us from Integrated Services.
If you approve the collection of Personal Information, you may provide the following:
- Nickname (what your students call you)
- Position at your School/Organization
- Grades and Subjects Taught
- Names of your Classes/Sections
- Student Names/Emails/Usernames
- Names and Emails of Colleagues (if referring or inviting to team plan)
Exceptions for Students
The policies above apply to all Users with exceptions for how we handle student data listed here.
- We will never provide behaviorally targeted ads to students
- We will not provide personal information with other third-party organizations for their marketing or promotional use even if consent were given, which we won’t ask for.
Extra Information for Student Users
Formative is committed to children’s privacy.
Different regions require extra precautions for creation of student accounts and handling of student data under certain ages. In the United States, COPPA requires extra restrictions for students under the age of 13. Similarly in many EU countries under GDPR, precautions are required under 13, 14, 15, or 16 years of age, depending on each country’s individual rules. Because of this, we take the same level of care to student accounts regardless of age or location.
Protecting the privacy of young children is especially important to Formative. For that reason, we created certain features designed to help protect Personal Information relating to all students creating accounts on our site ("Student Users"). Formative also seeks parental consent for all "Student Users." If you are a parent or guardian (“Parent”) and discover that your child has a registered account with our Properties without your consent, please alert Formative at email@example.com and request that we delete that child’s personal information from our systems.
In most cases, we will have to reach out to the educator and/or school overseeing the account to confirm identities before we can make changes to a student account at the parent’s direction.
How children may register for and use our Properties.
A child can be registered to use the Properties through his or her school; or through an integration with the Properties that is supported by the child’s school; or by teachers, tutors, and other similar adults that assist in the educational process (“Teachers”) and have taken steps to obtain parental consent. Parents always have the option to delete their Student User’s account by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children must always sign up as a Student - never as a Teacher - during the account creation process.
If a Student User attempts to register for our Properties, Formative will request an Authorization Code, which must be created and provided by their Teacher. Teachers must not give these codes to or create accounts for children unless they have the authority to give consent for the sharing of that student's personal information (name, email, answers, etc). Again, we will never sell student data. It is up to the Teacher and Student to determine if and how this information is shared.
Alternatively, if you are a Parent, you may provide consent for your child’s registration via email. Parents may revoke a child’s permission to use the Properties by emailing email@example.com to delete the account.
Restrictions on Student Users.
Formative attempts to restrict a Student User’s access to certain features that could result in disclosure of Personal Information by the Student User. A restricted account limits sharing and displaying private information about the Student User in various ways, including:
- The profile is not shared publicly, and only the Parent and other permitted Teachers can see the User’s profile
- The Student User cannot post to public discussion forums
- The Parent can edit Personal Information found in the restricted account by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Parent can remove Student Users from view of any Teachers
Some other features of our Properties may, however, permit a Student User to enter free-form text through which the Student User could enter Personal Information that would be visible to other Users. This may occur, for instance, if a Student User enters Personal Information in answering an exercise problem or creating other projects on our Properties. If you are the Parent of a Student User, please advise your Student User of the risks of posting Personal information on our Properties or any other online services as information posted may be used by others without restriction.
California Children’s Privacy Rights
If you are under the age of 18 or are the parent of a User under the age of 18, and you reside in California, you are entitled to request removal of content or information you have posted on our Properties. If you would like to request removal of your or your child’s content or information, please email us at email@example.com for assistance, or you can delete specific information (or delete your or your child’s account) directly. Please note that removal of your content or information does not ensure complete or comprehensive removal as there may be deidentified or recoverable elements of your content or information on our servers in some form. Additionally, we will not remove content or information that we may be required to retain under applicable federal and state laws.
Our approach to Data Security
Data security is important to you, and to us.
To protect your privacy and security, we take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting you account access or making corrections to your information. For example, we may ask you to provide certain Personal Information to confirm your identity, and we may require that you create and use a password to access certain parts of our Properties. You should create and maintain a strong password to help ensure the security of your account.
We try to ensure that our Properties and information sent to us are safe, but no security measures are perfect.
Formative uses certain physical, managerial, and technical safeguards designed to preserve the integrity and security of your Personal Information and other information we maintain in connection with our Properties. We cannot, however, ensure or warrant the security of any or all of the information you transmit to Formative, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission of information, Formative makes commercially reasonable efforts to ensure the security of our systems. When you enter sensitive information, we encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL) or similar technologies. However, please note that this is not a guarantee that such information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed by breach of any of our physical, technical, or managerial safeguards.
We will notify you electronically or via the Properties if Formative experiences a data security incident that could affect you.
If we learn of a data security incident that compromises or appears to compromise your Personal Information, then we will attempt to notify you electronically so that you can take appropriate protective steps. We may also post a notice on our Properties if a data security incident occurs.
We will notify each educational agency with which we have a contract of any breach or unauthorized release of personally identifiable information in the most expedient way possible - and without unreasonable delay - but no more than seven calendar days after the discovery of such breach.
How we maintain data integrity
At Formative, we only use Personal Information as needed for the purposes for which it was collected or where you have consented to our use of Personal Information relating to you. We take reasonable steps to ensure that the Personal Information we store and use is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. If you discover that Personal Information or other data pertaining to you is inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date, please update your account information or contact us as outlined below.
Links to other sites
Our Properties are operated and managed on servers located within the United States. If you choose to use our Properties from other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that differ from U.S. law, then you acknowledge and agree that you are transferring your Personal Information outside of those regions to the United States and that, by providing your Personal Information on the Properties, you consent to that transfer.
In some special requirements, we may be able to create and manage isolated servers outside of the United States based on specific international partnerships. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding this requirement.
Additional State Provisions
Formative will provide notification of a security breach pursuant to requirements as mandated in the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014.
All terms herein are defined in accordance with SP0183, Maine's Student Information Privacy Act.
Formative will not use Covered Information to engage in targeted advertising.
In accordance with New York Education Law § 2-d, Formative will comply with and attach to your contract the Parents’ Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security, as applicable.
Formative will provide notification of a security breach pursuant to the requirements of Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act.
Formative will give all protections under the Utah Student Data Privacy Act, including the right to audit to verify compliance with this policy.