#ThrowbackThursday: Grades on the ‘Wailing Wall’

PAW Archives, Feb. 24, 1939

PAW Archives, Feb. 24, 1939

In January 1939, crowds of students lingered around a bulletin board in Nassau Hall, nervously surveying their fall-semester grades, which were posted publicly on what the students jokingly called the “wailing wall.” Seventy-five years later that practice has faded from memory. Today’s Princetonians — thankfully — can find their grades privately on the University’s course registration engine, known by the acronym SCORE.

The public grade sheets of Nassau Hall moved to Alexander Hall in 1947, by recommendation of the Undergraduate Council. The Daily Princetonian welcomed the change as “a happy solution to an old and irksome problem,” providing more space to organize the grades by class year, reducing crowding in the hallway, and offering a cool place for students to meet after spring exams.

The brazen publicizing of grades came to an end in 1956, when the faculty voted to end the practice. Course grades were sent by mail to each student’s campus address. At the time of the change, the Registrar’s office boasted about what may have been the first step toward SCORE: It began using IBM computer machines to update transcripts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *