Campaign calls for end to “grade shaming”

Olly Hudson 15 May 2015

A University campaign is calling for an end to the traditional practice of examination grades being made public on a class list ranking, or so called "grade-shaming."

Our Grade, Our Choice is protesting the current system, whereby examinaiton grades are made public either outside Senate House, within faculties or via pdf. Students currently have no control over whether or not their grades are made public. Exceptions are only granted with proof of extenuating circumstances.

Particular concerns have been raised over the gendered element to examination results, after research conducted by CUSU Women's Campaign showed that women are less likely to get Firsts across all Tripos exams. Last year, only 3% of women History undergraduates gained a First in their finals, compared to 23% of men.

The recently launched University trans campaign Make No Assumptions has also put its weight behind the campaign, commenting: "As a campaign, our wider goal is to promote student welfare, and posting class lists completely invalidates the duty of the University to make its students feel safe and supported."

"Students who have changed their name (and therefore likely their initials) but not submitted a deed-poll to the University for whatever reason will have the initials of their former name posted on the class lists, which is potentially an incredibly harmful prospect."

Another student backed the campaign: "Why should people's grades suddenly be public property? We pay for an education – it's a transaction between the University and each of its members, not a judging free-for-all."

Evidence suggests that public 'shaming' of poor performers post-examinations has little motivational effect on performance. 

Not all responses to this latest campaign have been positive however. One student commented via Twitter: "If the next Cam Uni campaign group formed could be about issues affecting people other than Cambridge students, that would be great."

The campaign is currently calling for testimonials to be submitted via its Facebook page, though as of yet has not specified how it will seek to achieve its aim.