Lake Superior State University
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Section: Academic Administration Section Number: 2.8.2
Subject: Posting Student Grades Date of Present Issue: 08/06/01
  Date of Previous Issues:


A federal law, the Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA, also know as the Buckley Amendment) as amended, affords students certain rights concerning their educational records. Students have the right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records. Educational institutions have the responsibility to prevent improper disclosure of personally identifiable information from the records. (Based on information taken from the University of Connecticut website

The Family Policy Compliance Office within the Department of Education has repeatedly ruled the practice of posting grades by student number to be a violation of FERPA. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers 1995 publication, Guidelines for Postsecondary Institutions for Implementation of the Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended, provides the following guidance:

    "The public posting of grades either by the student's name, institutional student identification number, or social security number without the student's written permission is a violation of FERPA. Even with names obscured, numeric student identifier numbers are considered personally identifiable information. Therefore, the practice of posting grades by social security number or student identification number violates FERPA.

    Instructors and others who post grades should use a system that ensures FERPA requirements are met. This can be accomplished either by obtaining the student's uncoerced written permission to do so or by using code words or randomly assigned numbers that only the instructor and individual student know. The order of posting should not be alphabetic.

    Another method used to notify students of their final or other grades by faculty prior to official institutional notification is to have any interested students complete a postcard with their name and mailing address on the address side and the course number/name on the message side. The completed postcard is given to the instructor who writes the student's grade on the message side and mails it to the student when grades have been determined."

It is also a FERPA violation for instructors to share student information with other students. Instructors should not give any class member a graded paper or project for return to another student who has been absent from class.

University Policy is therefore:

  1. Posting of student information (including grade) using the student name, phone number, all or any part of the institutional identification number or social security number are prohibited.
  2. Student grades should not be reported in alphabetical order under any condition.
  3. Random or student assigned code-word/numbers are acceptable provided the relationship between this random I.D. and the student is known only to the student and instructor.
  4. Graded course materials should be returned in a manner to ensure student privacy. Folding/stapling up bottom portion of paper to obscure grade written on bottom, writing grades on internal pages of report, hand-delivering papers, use of sealed envelopes with student name on outside are all appropriate methods. Leaving graded papers in boxes outside the office, returning work on an open table with grade visible, or returning papers in order of highest marks are not appropriate.
  5. Graded work should not be given to any individual (friend, relative, roommate) except to the student to whom it belongs.
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