Class averages foster a less competitive environment

Teachers should provide the class average for assessments in order to prevent students from sharing scores with one another.

Graphic by Lily Klau ’23

Teachers should provide the class average for assessments in order to prevent students from sharing scores with one another.

As the bell rings and students file into the hallway after being handed back a graded assessment, the question of ‘What did you get?’ immediately arises. Scores are shared aloud in a hurry as students make their way to their next class. 

This question is inevitable despite teachers’ best efforts to stress the importance of keeping scores confidential. Some teachers have even implemented a policy in which they will deduct points from the assessment if they hear students discussing scores.  

There is a natural tendency for students to wonder how they did on an assessment in comparison to their peers. However, I have found that when teachers provide the class average for an assessment, students are less inclined to ask one another for scores.

There is value in teachers providing the class average for an assessment. This information allows students to evaluate how their score compares to those of their peers without knowing their individual classmates’ scores and feeling pressured to share their own. 

This information allows students to evaluate how their score compares to those of their peers without knowing their individual classmates’ scores and feeling pressured to share their own. ”

— Meg Enquist ’23

For example, if a student’s grade is significantly lower than the class average, the student may realize that they didn’t fully grasp the concepts being assessed. The student will likely be more motivated to meet with their teacher and review the areas in which they need improvement. This is particularly important in classes where the units build off of one another. 

Personally, I have found that a less competitive and a less stressful environment results from teachers providing class averages. Students are able to focus on improving their skills and abilities without the pressure of being asked about assessment scores. 

Students must also take responsibility and follow their teachers advice in keeping their scores confidential. This is essential for creating an environment focused on learning and improvement rather than competition.