Author: Dr. Thomas Caceci
I greatly prefer not to associate grades and individuals in the course of the semester. Accordingly, some years ago I instituted a system of "Anonymous Grading," which has proven to be very successful as a means of reducing tension in the classroom and facilitating personal interaction between me and the students. It allows both student and instructor to deal with each other as individuals and leaves the question of performance out of the give-and-take of lectures and laboratory sessions.
The mechanics of this system are pretty simple: each student is randomly assigned an "Anonymous Grading System" (AGS) number, and that number is used on all exams and quizzes during the semester. Grades are calculated and posted based solely on the AGS number. Use of a random number protects student privacy better than using the Social Security Number ever can (since many people have access to SSN records) and satisfies legal requirements that grades be held as confidential information.
To insure that no one gets lost, each student signs a numbered AGS form. These are collected and turned over to the Administrative Assistant in the Biomedical Sciences Department. She compiles a master list of names and numbers, and retains the forms; one copy of the list goes to the Associate Dean for Instruction to use in tracking student performance; the other copy is kept in the departmental office. I have no access to either of the lists or to the file of AGS forms, and don't know who has what number until the end of the course, after final grades have been computed and posted.
Although at the beginning of the semester some students are a little cautious about this arrangement, by the end most have embraced it as a welcome easing of some of the pressure generated by veterinary school life. I've written two papers for the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education on this topic, and if you'd like to read them, copies are available below. They include numerous student comments for and against the system.
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Read JVME 16: 34-35
Read JVME 20: 65-72
VM8054: Veterinary Histology