Student Access to the Exams They Have Written

The Court of Justice of the EU has held that the “examination script” i.e. the answers to examination questions, constitutes the personal information of the student, and therefore it must be made available to the student on request under access to information and privacy laws. (This is the Nowak case out of Ireland, for those of you who follow such things.)

Would the same result be obtained in any Canadian jurisdiction? One understands the argument that the answers are connected to the student – they have to be, in order to serve their primary purpose. The student’s marks would be PII. So why not the text of the answers that generated the mark?

Would this come as a surprise to examining bodies here, or do they routinely release such information, in places where they are subject to laws requiring them to give people access to their PII?

What do you think of that result? Will it open examining bodies – public or private (Mr Nowak was trying to pass Chartered Accountant exams) – to endless debate about whether the answers merited different marks? Or will it help ensure that examiners are not arbitrary or careless?

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