The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Law prohibits posted grades

Garry Running, associate professor of geography, has never had a student complain about the way he posts grades.

Running said he posts grades via e-mail and has for quite awhile.

“The students want to know their grades,” he said, “and I try to get it to them as fast as possible.”

Running said he posts grades using the last five digits of a student’s identification number, then, the grades are listed in numerical order, not alphabetical order.

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According to Registrar Sue Moore, many instructors are breaking the law when they post grades in this manner.

According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, Moore said, professors should not post grades or send out grade lists using Social Security numbers or student identification numbers.

Social Security numbers should not be used, Moore said, because they are private numbers and should be protected.

A student identification number also shouldn’t be used because it is an even more public and easily accessible number, she said.

However, Moore said there is a debate about whether using only a part of the number is acceptable.

Sophomore Jenique Musil said that she has had many instructors who post grades in a similar manner.

“I’ve never thought of it as a problem,” she said. “I like knowing my grades as soon as possible.”

Musil also said that she is not concerned about privacy being an issue when instructors post grades.

If students are concerned about the method their instructor is using to post grades, they can contact the registrar’s office or try talking to their instructor.

“I’ve never had any complaints from students,” Running said of his grade-posting system. “In fact, I never had any complaints when I used Social Security numbers or whole ID numbers either.”

The best way for instructors to post grades, Moore said, is to assign each student a code separate from their Social Security number and student identification number.

If the registrar gave students numbers, instructors would use them, Running said. But if the instructors have to give each student a number, the process would be too much of a hassle.

“When the registrar decides to assign numbers to students, we’d be happy to use them,” Running said.

Moore stressed that the reason for the law was to protect the privacy of students.

“The problem isn’t in the posting of grades itself,” Moore said. “It’s the numbers that are used.”

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Law prohibits posted grades