A breach of privacy

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Deck: TAs have too much knowledge

By Shauli Bar-On

Teacher aides? Teacher assistants? Nobody is entirely sure what the official name is for the role, and what’s more, nobody is exactly sure what the job description entails.

TAs are students who wish to work for a teacher and help them out during a specific class period, mainly doing routine work such as collecting homework, taking attendance and occasionally grading assignments, a task that is not actually allowed.

Students who feel a “special connection” to a teacher can apply to be their TA with almost a guaranteed acceptance.

Even without a special connection, some students who have an empty period simply want to fill a hole in their schedule and decide to TA for a teacher they have never had before.

Others TA with a friend or TA for a class they specifically know they have a friend in.

Regardless of the intention, the idea of being a TA is a good one. Students should be allowed to help teachers with classwork and in expediting classroom procedures, such as handing out assignments, helping students with essay work, math problems or anything else in regard to a specific subject.

TAs, however, should not be allowed to grade papers that reveal students’ names, especially  tests and quizzes, as it raises privacy and corruption questions.

I have had TAs tell me my grade on a test before the teacher publishes the grade online, meaning that another student knows my grade before I do.

The lack of privacy is unimaginable. If TAs have informed me of my grade, I can only imagine who else they have informed.

The second problem regarding TAs is the bias of grading their friends’ work. Rumors have been spread regarding TAs offering students a more lenient grading approach in exchange for money. If these rumors are true, the HHS administration should devote more attention to this issue.

There is a very simple solution to the privacy and corruption issues associated with TAs. Should teachers delegate the grading of tests and quizzes to TAs, student ID numbers should be used instead of names.

This way, teachers will be able to receive assistance from their TAs and students can be sure their grades are being assessed fairly.

But most importantly, students can rest assured that their grades are being kept between themselves, their instructors and their parents, as is mandated by law.

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