Controversy over public exam results

Jen Mills - News Editor 25 February 2010

The issue of whether exam results should be publicly available has re-emerged this week, after students raised concerns that photographs of the 2009 class lists are currently available online.

Only those with a university Raven log-in account can access the website where the results are published, however on ‘The Student Room’ internet forum, users have offered to send the class lists to anyone, including people from outside the University, who request them in a private message. One class list, for Medical and Veterinary Science, is publicly available for anybody to view.

The founder of the thread advertising the results, a contributor named “Vazzyb” who describes themselves as a third year Gonville and Caius medic, requested students reluctant to upload photos to “please, for the love of god, put them up publicly!!”

Moa Hoijer, a second year ASNaC student, was dismayed to find out that her results could be accessed online. She told The Cambridge Student (TCS): “This is infuriating. Exam results should be kept strictly personal during one’s time at University, i.e. between the student and the University. The system of displaying them publically outside Senate House is bad enough – there is no need to further enforce this anachronistic practice.”

One member of for the internet forum, who calls themselves ‘Nyet’, was in favour of all results being available. They wrote: “If you spent the year doing mindless rowing with other idiots and got a 2.2, serves you right.”

The Pembroke student who set up the website defended it to TCS, saying that “by collecting the class lists on one easily accessible (but restricted) website, it discouraged (and actually prevented) The Student Room users from uploading them to a public location and sharing them that way, which has occurred in previous years.”

The results system has recently been modified so that this year will be the first in which students are guaranteed the opportunity to find out their results online, before they are displayed at Senate House. At a CUSU Council meeting on Monday, Education Officer Sam Wakeford announced that all students would receive an email telling them to check their results on CamSIS, at least half an hour in advance of the list publication. Wakeford felt that this move was a positive step, however he stressed that there was still room for improvement. He argued that the notice given to students before results are published “should be 24 or 48 hours as an absolute minimum – rather than potentially only 30 minutes.”

Currently, to get their names removed from the Senate House lists, students must prove that their publication would cause significant distress. Last year, 12.5% of requests were rejected.

In reality this figure may be higher as it does not take into account students advised by their tutors not to pursue their application.

Jen Mills – News Editor