From: Amy Hammett, University Registrar
Re: Student Privacy and the Posting of Grades
This message is a reminder to all faculty regarding the public (both physical and electronic) posting of grades. While many of you want to be able to provide a timely and convenient method for students to receive feedback on course grading throughout the semester, student record privacy laws must be taken into consideration. According to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), posting of grades by student names or Social Security numbers is prohibited. In addition, a recent ruling from the U.S. Department of Education prohibits the posting of any portion of a student's Social Security number. Thus, using (for example) the last four digits of the SSN is a violation of the privacy law.
Likewise, it is not appropriate to leave a pile of student-identifiable papers or tests in a public place for students to pick up. If you are not able to distribute these types of materials directly to students in class, they can be left with a secretary/department assistant who can assure student identity and hand them directly to the individual student.
However, it is permissible to post by code name or number agreed to by the student and the faculty member. If you use the web to inform students of grades on course assignments, tests, etc., please use such a code name. Also, whenever grades are to be posted by code name, please scramble the names on the list before assigning codes so that the list does not reflect an alphabetical listing of student names.
We appreciate your cooperation in protecting students' privacy in accordance with the law. See Case's interpretation of FERPA for more information. If you have questions about a proposed practice, feel free to contact us. Thank you.