Talk About Test Grades

By Owen Lynch

“What did you get?”

After receiving a test score at BHS, students often ask their friends how they did. Should we be doing this? Are grades confidential and pertinent only to the person who took the test, or should students share them?

There are cases that can be made for both sides when it comes to the pros and cons of exchanging test grades with peers, but there are more reasons to keep grades to yourself.

Asking someone’s score on a test has more potential negative effects than positive effects. One of the most obvious reasons is that it’s simply not one’s business. Another reason is that it can put both the asker and the person being asked in an awkward position. Some students might study for an exam for fifteen minutes, if at all, while another might study for hours. If someone does not receive the results he or she would have liked, he or she is not going to want to share that with you. Here’s an example of an exaggerated, yet common conversation:

“Hey (insert name here), how did you do on the test?”

“Failed. How about you?”

“I got 100%.”

That is an exchange in which literally neither side benefits, other than discovering the test score that one of their classmates received. Asking a classmate his or her grade could be at your own expense, so think twice before popping the question.

Dr. Kenney is one of the strongest teacher advocates against sharing grades, trying to give students the memo that someone who did very well on an exam might actually not want to come off as bragging when disclosing his or her grade, while if they did poorly, they are likely disappointed and feel embarrassed to share theirs. You should drive your own motivation and not depend on your friends’ scores.

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