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Parent Over Shoulder

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Some parents no longer have to wait until their children come home to find out what they did in school that day—they already know. If the school is among the proliferating number of middle schools and high schools subscribing to data services such as Edline, SchoolFusion, and School Center, parents have instant access to their children's every grade, absence, and quiz score.

But the programs aren't infallible—just ask Laura Iriarte Miguel. The high school student recently switched anatomy classes, but Edline didn't immediately register the change. Iriarte Miguel hadn't told her parents about her decision, so the switch erroneously made it look like she'd been cutting class and scoring zeros on quizzes.

"They wanted to know why-why-why-why," Iriarte Miguel says. She was able to explain, but the air was still poisoned. The suspicion, she says, "accumulated in the back of their minds during the whole day."

What do you think? Should parents have up-to-the-second information about what their children are doing in school?

2 Comments

Tests are sent home to be signed and returned, interims are issued every five weeks, and reportcards issued every nine weeks, failure notices are sent at the end of the first semester, homework and class assignments are posted online at a user-friendly website,all teachers have a schoolbased email address for quicker communication, the telephone lines buzz during planning periods as teachers attempt to contact parents concerning their children's performance and behavior, volunteer tutoring is offered after school/before school by most teachers in the building, yet it still appears that parents and children have developed an insatiable need for more and more data that does not often lead to improved scores or behaviors.
Data alone isn't going to do it; too cold and clinical without the human element: parents might need a reality check- a rubric, if you will with student-generated examples of the type of work that is expected to receive a certain grade. Let them compare a real "artifact" with their child's attempts. Now, that is real assessment.
We could easily end the discussion about behavior and the whines that "He/she don't like me" by showing the parents the scenes in the hallways captured by the cameras we had to install recently for safety' sake.

We have made gradebooks available to students and parents over the internet in our county and personally, I love it! Students no longer can rely on the old excuse, "He hates me!" Parents can easily log in and see what assignments have not been turned in or what quiz or test grades are responsible for low grades. It has made the frequency of complaints from parents decline. Interactions with parents have become more productive. Students have become more responsible. I don't have to keep reminding them that they haven't made up missed assignments. Absences on assignment due dates are automatically shown and coded as valid or unvalid. Of course, all these good things only follow if teachers keep up to date with their grade books. We are required by the district to input at least 2 grades per week, although they also recognize that it may take up to 2 weeks in some instances to post grades for large assignments.

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