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How Do Online Gradebooks Affect Parent Involvement in Public Schools?

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Almost half of public schools nationally post students' grades online through some sort of student-management software, according to the International Society for Technology in Education. But does this help improve parent involvement?

Contributing writer Laura McKenna explored this topic in a March 10 story in The Atlantic, sharing her own personal experiences, as well as those of experts. The answers aren't easy, but the issue could be changing education, she writes.

Online gradebooks are tools that allow teaches to log students' grades and records, such as attendance.

Some parents say that the online gradebooks help them track their children's progress, leading to better academic success. Yet others criticize them as too Big Brother.

"Parents end up logging in too many times. It's seductive and addictive. One loses the ability to manage it," said Madeline Levine, a clinical psychologist and the author of "The Price of Privilege," in The Atlantic story.

It's not just middle and high schoolers who are monitored these days. Benjamin Herold of Education Week's Digital Education blog recently wrote about an upcoming device that is meant to track the quality of vocabulary and conversations that parents have with their infants and toddlers.

With so much out there, the Harvard Family Research project came up with some tips on how to use such tools and share data.

What is working for your families and schools? Do online gradebooks help engage families? Let us know in the comments below. 

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

Follow @ParentAndPublic for the latest news on schools and parental involvement.

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