Keeping Grades Confidential

By Alon Kornfeld ’18

Grade confidentiality in schools is looked upon as a controversial subject because publicizing the grade of a student can be a motivation for students to be more competitive. However, keeping grades confidential between the student, teacher, and parent is expected by law. Out of 120 students, a survey showed over half know their peers grades. The others admitted that they did not keep track of their peer’s grades. This shows that at least 70 students at the Catlin Gabel School know their peer’s grade.

“Aside from it being required by law, I think it is important because grades are a private matter and they shouldn’t be shared with the public, stated Kim Forbes, a Portland teacher and tutor.

Catlin Gabel students in a classroom environment. (Photo: Glenn Burnett)

Catlin Gabel students in a classroom environment. (Photo: Glenn Burnett)

In a classroom setting, teachers commonly use students’ grades as a group-like class motivation. Forbes continues, “ There are ways for teachers to publicize grades and keep the student anonymous at the same time. This can provide the motivation that can come from friendly competition in the classroom while still respecting the need for the student’s privacy when it comes to their academics.”

FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and it was established in 1974 by the U.S. Department of Education. The act is supposed to protect privacy of the students’ education records.

In order to be specific, education records include grades, financial records, attendance, disciplinary records, and the courses that the student enrolls in. Every educational institute must respect FERPA and its role to keep students’ records completely private.