The significant percentage of candidates choosing to opt-out from having their results publicly displayed made the published class-lists “meaningless”Dave Hitchborn / Wikimedia Commons

The University Council has submitted a Grace to the Regent House to remove the public display of class-lists with effect from 1 October 2021, following recommendations made by the Council and the General Board in a Joint Report published in the Reporter last month (23/06).

The report proposes the discontinuation of publicly-displayed class-lists outside the Senate House, in Colleges and University institutions, and on the Reporter.

It claimed the significant percentage of candidates choosing to opt-out from having their results publicly displayed made the published class-lists “meaningless”.

The report also acknowledged that the growing number of opt-outs “suggests that an increasing number of students do not wish to have their examination results made public”. The percentage of opt-outs increased from 36.6% to 49.9% between the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic years.

The high number of opt-outs resulted in “163 incomplete class-lists, of which 12 contained no student names and 77 displayed the names of 50% or fewer students, and only 10 complete class-lists with no missing names” out of the 12,100 candidates enrolled for undergraduate and postgraduate examinations in the 2018/2019 academic year.

The report also cited consideration of a motion passed by the Council of the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) to discontinue publication of class-lists in the Reporter and on notice boards.

In a 2016 discussion, representatives of the CUSU stated that the public nature of class-lists “underpins a culture of rivalry”. Discontinuing the practice would, they argued, be “the first step to ensuring that all students at the University of Cambridge are not pitted against one another for grades and rankings, but instead encouraged to broaden their minds and push the boundaries of knowledge”.

The report also highlighted that producing class-lists increases the workload of the Student Registry staff.

Past class-lists will remain public “as part of the historical record”, the report said, while full class-lists will continue to be offered “confidentially” to academic departments, faculties and colleges.

Furthermore, the report also recommends that the names of candidates granted examination allowances should not be required to be appended to class-lists. It is proposed that the names of scholarship and prize awardees still continue to be published in the Reporter, if the student does not choose to opt-out.

The report states that University Council and General Board considered further alterations to class-lists, including allowing candidates to opt-out after knowing their examination results, as compared to the current system where opting-out is only allowed before results are released. These alterations were not judged, however, to significantly increase uptake.


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No undergraduate class-lists have been published in the Reporter or displayed publicly within the University since the first lockdown last year. The Council cited the pandemic as cause for delay of this week’s recommendations.