Claiming that the current practice ‘promotes a culture of grade shaming’, as many as 950 students from the Cambridge University have signed an e-petition against the university’s tradition of publicly displaying their end-of-year exam results.
A group of students who call themselves ‘Our Grade Our Choice’ have called on the administration to allow students to decide whether or not their results appear on public university class lists.
According to the students, the current class list system at Cambridge means that “our results are posted online, outside Senate House, in our faculties, and in other publications that we have absolutely no control over. The current system completely ignores the right of privacy for Cambridge students, and their welfare. It removes any autonomy from students over their examinations results — results which students work so hard to achieve”.
It then calls on students saying “If you believe that this system is wrong and needs to be reformed, please sign this petition. The following reasons are just a few of many that show how essential it is to give students agency over their examination results: It promotes a culture of grade shaming. Those with mental health issues may not wish to be present on the class list. Furthermore, they may find the current system of requiring doctor’s notes, liaising with directors of studies and senior tutors to request to have themselves taken off the class list overwhelming.”
The students say that even if a student does not appear to have mental health issues, the public distribution of results could trigger an episode. The other reasons, according to the petitioners are that students may wish to simply have some privacy, which is something that should be a right.
In the past, Cambridge students’ results would be publicly displayed before they received them privately, but this was changed in 2010.
The University of Oxford stopped making exam results public in October 2009 because around 40% of students had previously opted out of having their names published on public exam results lists through the Data Protection Act.