International students are used to asking grades or percentage of other students in their class. The reality is, in countries like India, the results are posted publicly and everyone knows the grades. But, things work different in America. There are laws to protect your privacy and privacy issues are very serious in America. Let me share my thoughts on this.
What typically happens with Grades ? Why people ask about grades ?
Imagine, you have just taken a test and it was very hard, you talked to your friends and they said, “it went ok”…but you say to them, “you are lying, you are smart guy”. Guess what happens, next class professor comes and gives the exam papers, you are so curious that you ask your friend “ what is your grade ?”…Well, let us say he does not tell you the grade. Generally, in countries like India, you would ask the professor and they would tell who got highest , how much did someone get, etc stuff. The reality is, in countries like India, there are not many strict education record privacy acts or anything like that. It is unfortunate to say this, students are treated differently based on their performance in exams. But, things work differently in America.
What the concept of Grades in America ? Why NOT to ask Grades ?
In America, there are Education and privacy acts to protect such practices. In fact, not even parents can know your grades after you are 18. Education record is private. Lets think logically, why such rule? Human tendency is such that, we judge others based on some characteristics or behavior…If you are education oriented person, if you know someone is not good at studies…you may show bias and look that person down. Also, others may do the same thing for instance, other professors or anyone. To eliminate all these discrimination or bias, in US there is an Education Act to protect and safeguard. For more info read this Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
In US, No one asks others about grades like, What grade did you get ? How much percentage, etc ? Students are very sensitive about asking grades in US schools. You should never ask their grade. Also, professors even when they give you the exam papers or homework after grading, they close it and give it to you so that no one sees your grade. It is confidential just between you and professor. Having said that, international students often ask other international students about grades because of their practice, but please do NOT ask others about their grades unless you know them on a personal level. Many of us(international students) do not know this stuff and ask these questions. Hope you will not ask after reading this. If you are friends with someone, you may politely ask something general like “did you do fine on the test?”. I think this is the right way. NO one should be judged based on their grades or percentage. The idea is, every student or professor should treat other students with respect without any bias based on grades!
Did you ask any American student about grades? Any thoughts to share?
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