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Students Grading Peers' Papers Could Be Considered Violation Of Privacy

Posted November 28, 2001

— Remember back in school when you traded papers, graded them and handed them back. One Oklahoma parent says the practice is humiliating and should stop. She sued on behalf of her learning-impaired son, a case that the U.S. Supreme Court heard Tuesday.

When Glendale-Kenly Elementary students in Johnston County take a social studies test, only one set of eyes will grade them when they are done: teacher Carol Avera.

"I want to see what those children have learned and I want to know what they're doing and what they're not doing with respect to their achievement," she said.

Avera said students should not mark a paper when the grade ends up in her grade book, which is part of the student's permenant record, but she thinks there are times when student grading is OK.

"The small practice assignments, the homework assignments, those kinds of things are for the purpose of improving skills on a daily basis," she said.

At issue before the U.S. Supreme Court is whether any student's work like homework or quizzes is a legal record and therefore, private. The case will hinge on whether student eyes should ever look at a peer's work. Classrooms could change if the plantiff wins the case.

"I would assume that the burden of scoring everything would fall to the classroom teacher, and in that context, I think we're actually taking away from the learning environment," Avera said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case early next year.

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