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Grade Updates Online for Parents to Check

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The Washington Post has an interesting story up about the way that technology is making it easier for parents to check their students' grades, without having to wait until the end of the semester.

Some school districts have moved to online grading systems that alert parents every time a new grade is recorded into their child's average. This helps keep both students and parents in the loop about how everything from homework assignments to quizzes and tests affect their overall class average, says the article.

Apparently, many parents really enjoy this new way of keeping up with their child's grades, but as you might imagine, not all students are thrilled. Even though I was a pretty good student in school, the high schooler in me cringes at the thought of my parents being able to see every single assignment, quiz, and test grade as it is recorded. I can remember plenty of times when I bombed a quiz or paper and had to work extra hard throughout the semester to pull my grade up in the class to something I knew would be OK to bring home to my parents—and it doesn't sound like students these days have that option.

On the other hand, I can see how keeping parents in the loop about fluctuations in grades can definitely be a good thing for some students. It can help parents intervene when their child may be struggling and alert them to where their child might need some extra help before it's too late to do anything about it. And it definitely helps open up communication between the parent, student, and the teacher.

What do you think? Does this kind of system help support students academically, or does it take away students' ownership of their grades? Or does it depend on the student?

2 Comments

For many years I have e-mailed parents and students grade updates on an opt-in basis. I do not send out grades every time a new item is added to the grade book, but more along the lines of once a week or once a unit.

It is helpful for both students and parents to see if there are any assignments missing or quizzes and tests to make up. Feedback from parents has been very positive. I try to ensure that students always find out first what their mark is on a big test--I can't imagine anything worse than bombing a test and your parents finding out before you.

So I support keeping parents in the loop with regards to grades, but I would hope that students are also kept in the loop so they can maintain ownership of their grades.

I actually agree with the system they are using. I think it puts accountability on the teachers to keep grades current and accessible to the student, and it also leaves the secrecy out of the grades/school conversation between the parent and student. However, there are flip sides to this, as we know there are the "hovering parents" and "rebellious teens." Maybe the grades can be posted and available at certain windows of time for both students and parents? I understand the teen wanting to avoid embarrassment or shame, but what about giving the parent a chance to open a coversation about school with this? I see this as an opportunity to renew the parent-teen involvement in education, as well as a means to monitor students who are experiencing diffulty. Also, it may surprise some parents with students who are struggling with good news- a chance to praise their child for improvement. More parents must take steps, even if they are difficult steps in entering their child's progress in school. If there was a way to curb over-involvement or abuse, that would be even more ideal. But Kudos to them! I think this may be a step in the right direction. If technology is going to redirect parent's attention back to their child then the effort is worth it.

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