2. Respect your students’ privacy

When you do something bad you don’t want anyone else to know about it. The same scenario applies to students’ grades. If a student got a bad grade he doesn’t want anyone else to know about it as well.

  1. Don’t write grades for exams, assignments, projects, etc. on the first page. If the paper is multiple pages write the grade on the last page, and tell your students where you write the grade. If the paper is one page only write the grade in the back of the paper or in a small font bottom right. Writing the grade in a very big font in the front page is not advisable. In a class with many students it is difficult to hand out papers to students one by one. In such big classes, instructors usually hand the papers to one student to pick his paper and pass the pile to a neighbor student and so on. In such case, students will only be able to read the names on the first page but not other students’ grades.
  2. If you are posting grades on your website or on your door don’t use students’ names or their IDs. I remember during my bachelor degree, in Jordan, professors used to post grades along with students’ IDs. Since students’ IDs are not private it is not a good way to post grades. Some professors ask their students to send them special names or nicknames that no one else know. Of course the better way would be using special software like WebCT or BlackBoard in which every student has an account and students log in to see their grades.
  3. In a case a student is absent when you give back students’ papers don’t give the paper to a student who is a friend to the absent student. Assume nothing!
  4. Believe it or not I took a class with a college professor who likes to arrange the exam papers in descending order. The last student to get his paper has the lowest grade. I am not sure what this professor was thinking but it is by far the most stupid way to give back the exam papers. He is telling the students and now the most stupid of you is …!!!

7 thoughts on “2. Respect your students’ privacy

  1. where i did my undergrad degree in jordan, some profs used to make us sit according to a serial number handed out to us at the beginning of the term, then post grades accordingly.. that was really stupid since students already knew each others’ numbers!!

    yeah, webct is an awesome system for keeping students grade accounts private and secured.

  2. Unfortunately, my university moved to Blackboard which is less appealing to both instructors and students than WebCT.

  3. intersting subject!

    in one of the courses I took in the University the doctor put a paper with student’s full names and grades,I was still a nerd back then…
    so when I approached the board to check my grade I heard students saying my name and swearing at me and my father because I got 29/30 and ruined the curve!

  4. I hope some of my teachers read this post.

    Anyway, I always had a very bad feeling whenever my teacher passed me my test paper folded, coz then I know I don’t do very well (and the rest of the class know it too)

  5. Ruba,
    Posting grades with students’ names this is really unprofessional. By the way, it is against universities’ rules also.

    Bolstalova,
    I got many of those folding exam papers as if the instructor wants every one to know that I didn’t do well.

  6. I have a professor now that posts grades on his door based on ID number but there are students that will make an effort to figure out the identities of the highest and lowest grades and then let it be known to everyone else…so that’s added pressure to not mess up!

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