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I'm a tutor for a university course that has just had a midterm exam marked and returned to the students. One of the students emailed me asking for summary statistics of the midterm exam: the maximum score, minimum score, and average score of the class. He says that in previous classes this information had been available, though I'm not exactly sure how he got it.

Is it normal for students to have this information? Am I obliged to give out this sort of summary data, or should I seek permission from the course coordinator first?

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    Many learning management systems (LMS) such as Instructure Canvas provide this information to students by default. If you are using an LMS you might check to see whether the information is visible to students. Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 3:49
  • If you do end up releasing statistics, note that, for an exam the median is probably a better measure of central tendency than the mean. And, if you release the stats, be sure to release them to everyone in the class.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 16:32

2 Answers 2

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You are probably not required, although it is usual practice if statistics are meaningful and anonymity can be maintained: there is no sense of reporting statistics if you are teaching 5 students who all know each another well.

In my larger classes, I would also distribute a histogram for the grade distribution so that students could assess the general performance of the class: the disappointment of an underperformance or the elation of an overperformance is soften or sharpened when you can place your performance on the histogram.

Such reporting is something the instructor should do, not the tutor, although I realize that might be dependent on the culture of the institution.

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As a tutor, yes, you should ask the course coordinator before releasing such information. And yes, it is pretty common for students to have access to limited statistical measures of exams. It isn't universal, but common enough.

Some professors would even post grades for exams, though not with the names of students attached. One prof in my memory would post them outside his office.

But, rules vary. You shouldn't post enough information that the grades of individuals can be found out, but summary statistics are fairly benign. Some students will get a sad, of course.

Whether you are obligated or not depends on the rules in place at your institution. So, yes, ask.


In my opinion, students should have access to their relative performance, but relative to the course standard, not relative to the grades of others. Grading, IMO, isn't a competitive game, but a measure of learning. I'm aware that others will contest that idea.

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