student life

Cambridge University considers exam results petition

A petition calling for the stoppage of publication of end of year exam results is being considered by officials at the University of Cambridge.

A meeting was held on the 1st July by the General Board’s Education Committee at the university to discuss the petition, which was started in May and attracted almost 1,300 signatures at the time of submitting this article to editors.

Organisers of the petition said the publication of results at Cambridge ignored the welfare and privacy rights of students, and it promoted a culture of grade shaming.



The work of the Committee is able to be accessed only by those with Cambridge log in credentials through the Raven system.

Reached by telephone, a spokesperson for the university said a statement would be issued before the beginning of the academic year, and would not comment on it in the interim.

A telephone message left with the Cambridge Student Union seeking comment on the petition was not returned.

Beyond Cambridge

Approximately ten thousand students each year had their results published under the scheme, which are seen outside Senate House at the university, according to a letter responding to a request by Kettle under the Freedom of Information Act. The university says students are informed that their results are being made public on the list.

Twenty students had requests approved by the Applications Committee to opt out of the scheme in the 2013-14 academic year. One request was declined because it was submitted past the due date. No data was provided for the current academic year.

The University of Oxford is another university in the UK that has had a similar practice, but stopped publication of the results beginning in October 2009.

In a letter responding to a request by Kettle under the Freedom of Information Act, Oxford University officials said students had the option to opt out of having their names published under the Data Protection Act, and that 40 per cent of students had done so by 2009. Online access to results prior to publication also was considered in the university’s decision to cease publication of the results.

The publication of results began in the 19th century, officials said, and became an established practice by the 1870s.

Officials declined to release the number of results released under Oxford’s publication scheme.

What do you think? Should universities be allowed to publish exam results? Are there any benefits to students for publishing them? Have your say in the comments section below.