I went to a large public state school for undergrad. In most of my classes, great measures were taken to keep assignment and exam grades private. When I became a TA, I had to complete a privacy/FERPA training that detailed exactly how assignments could be stored, returned, etc.
There was the occasional instructor that had free-for-alls with students digging through piles of assignments with grades written on the front. However, this wasn't the norm, with most assignments being returned by request at office hours, or having the grade written on the second page.
I recently started attending a well-known private school for my master's degree. With one exception, all of the classes with paper homework assignments have been returned either in the free-for-all method, or in large drawers in an open part of a campus building that can be accessed by anyone at the school. Personally, I'm past the point of caring if other people happen to see a homework grade of mine, but it was just a bit surprising for me based on my previous experience.
Is allowing other students to see assignment/exam grades a violation of FERPA or did my previous school simply have more strict institutional privacy guidelines? What is a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding homework and exams?
Edit: Both institutions are US-based