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The problem that I have with a system like this right now is the people that would be using it. I mean, really, the only ones that would use it, are the ones that are already making the higher grades, and that actually care about school. Today's HS students fail because the students don't really care about the school work. This stems from the parents not caring about the students school. Don't get me wrong, it seems like a great system. But if the parents don't care about the grades now, why would they care about the grades when they are put online. What we need to focus on, is a way to motivate our students and parents into participation in school activities. This could be a start to that, but we need to look at other options as well. Something that lets the parents know what a failing grade means to the future of that student, or how having a higher average can help financially later in life (college tuition, better jobs, etc..)
I am a teacher. I love online grades (we use Easy Grade Pro & Edline). My parents love it. My students love it.
(1) I make mistakes (entering "10" instead of "100", forgetting to enter a grade, etc). Students catch these errors immediately. Makes my job so MUCH easier. Less drama at the end of the grading period.
(2) My grading paradigm is crystal clear, and many other teachers have had to make theirs clear, too. Some of my friends in high school pulled low grades because the teacher had a subjective "50% of your grade is class participation and attitude" grading system. Sorry, evil teachers, no more fudging grades. If you're going to try to screw over a student, you'll have to justify in black and white now. Also, have fun explaining to some quiet kid with a B++ why the kiss-up student got the nod for an A- but the quiet nerd kid with the B++ didn't. :) Now you'll actually have to change a numerical grade to perpetrate your injustice. Or just lie at the end of the 9 weeks.
(3) Parents who try to complain that their son/daughter is being unfairly treated mysteriously pipe down when they are updated about their kid's progress twice a week. It's hard to cry to the principal about some type of "injustice" when a poor grade has been unfolding in front of the parents' eyes for 9 weeks. Teachers: if you love grading make-up work that's 3 weeks late or love to give zeroes to a kid who had an appendectomy and subsequently forgot to hand in some stupid worksheet . . . well, you'll hate Edline!
(4) It just plain old saves everyone time. I don't have to continually explain (or refuse to re-explain) to students how to calculate their grades. They sign up for e-mail updates, log-in to Edline, check their grades, and can see exactly what i see in my gradebook. Admin can see student grades when they need to, and don't have to bother me for current student progress reports. Ditto counselors and even some coaches.
(5) As far as all of the whinging about overemphasis on grades, well, I just don't get it. If a parent complains about a kid getting a "B" when they see it online . . . well, wouldn't that parent moan about a "B" if the student brought the assignment home and handed it to the parent (or simply told them about it)? If several of the posters here mean that their parents get on their case now because their parents aren't in the dark anymore . . . well, you have to ask yourself if a student has a right to screen bad grades from their parents. I don't believe that they do have this right. For instance, any parent who calls me on the phone has a right to ask me how their child is doing in my class, e.g., what is the student's average, what was the grade on the last test, etc. If the parents don't have this right, then I am mistaken, and this is one crazy country. One more thing about "overemphasis on grades": that may be a valid criticism, but it sounds like a criticism of our system of grades in general, not a criticism of online grade reports.
I guess my overall point is, how can more communication be bad? What is the alternative, *less* communication? I just don't see how providing students and parents with up-to-date information can be any different than when I was in HS. Back them I either handed grades to parents or told them about those grades. (Or, I could choose not to tell them which just put off the bad news.) Back in the day, I wrote down all of my grades, categorized them by type, and used a calculator to average my grade to the hundredths place, just like I do today with a laptop. How was that any more impersonal or "grade-obsessed" than what we do today?
Sorry if I sound righteous or overly self-confident, but no students have ever said to me, "stop notifying me of my grades, please." Nor have parents said, "stop telling me what my daughter forgot to turn in when she was absent for two days last week." If a parent or student really is interested in . . . being left in the dark . . . um, I guess they can just block the e-mails as spam, or ask to be taken off the e-mail list, or just to refuse to check their grades online. Number of people who have chosen this head-in-the-sand approach: I don't know, but I assume that it is small.
Of course, I have heard students jokingly complain that I was getting them in hot water with their parents, but that's like saying a cop gets you in trouble when you are caught driving drunk. Anyway, everyone realizes that a report card is going to be sent home soon enough anyway! Same thing, but with a lot less information. :)
I have heard teachers say that they have been hassled by parents about updating online grades. Hey, what is your JOB, teachers? Among other things, you are supposed to provide timely communication to parents and students about academic progress. I believe that this is called assessment, and the assessment process involves not just giving an essay, or even giving and grading an essay, but assigning it, marking it, and returning the graded work. A grade is a piece of information. If you have to grade papers, why not do them on time? If you wait too long, they don't get any easier. If you are going to procrastinate, then you are going to have to grade all of those papers all at once. Grade them on time, post the grades online, and let everyone know where the student stands. It will motivate the students and mobilize the parents, whether the grades are good or bad.
Peace, peoples. I think I'll go online and read some more hysterical NY Times articles about online grade reporting now. Guess it wouldn't be newsworthy if they interviewed any of my parents or students.
although i see the piont of parentconnect i have found that my little brother and i have had a hard time dealing with the stress that it puts on my parents and my grades when i lived in the north my grades wernt as important as they are now i shared my bad and good grades when i recieved then and my parents were proud of me that i was forthright now though i have in more than one ocation "missplaced" my bad grades they focuse on the bad so much that now the barly acnoledge my good grades and inform me that my other grades still need work
I'm a student who has been subjected to this system, and I HATE it. I get great grades (straight A's, since BEFORE The system was installed), but since my parents have begun to play Big Brother, they haven't gotten off my case. If I get a B on a test or slip up on a project, they badger me to study and do more than is necessary, even though I know how to correct my mistake already. I have worked so hard to keep them from getting in my face, such as not telling them if I have a project so they aren't constantly harassing me and telling me to work on it, but the online grades ruin every shred of independence I've gained. If you're stupid and NEED your grades to be monitored (???), that's one thing. But for those of us who get straight A's and already know to fix our mistakes, the last thing we need is parents on our backs.
As a parent and educator, I believe it is important to have a system for viewing grades. I also think it is a good way to keep communication on going. Children are not always going to be honest about their grades and instead of having to call or e-mail someone to find out the truth, it is much easier to go to the system and look it up for yourself. The grading system my county uses is Pinnacle. I find it very helpful. It keeps me informed on my child's progress and eliminates the last minute shock of the report card.
As a child, I was too scared of the parent teacher meeting. I used to have immense trouble convincing myself that the meeting will be smooth. My parents especially, my dad was always involved in the process of teaching. He constantly used to evaluate my progress.However technology had not proliferated so much in those days and he used to solely rely on the school or myself for the grades. Today with the latest technology and use of tools, the parents can view the grades online, can compare the progress of their kid visa-vis the others and can chart the progress of their kids. What is most fascinating about the online system is that one can keep themselves updated. They can collaborate with teacher's through the online accessories available to discuss the performance of the child. Also a teacher can send a mass message to the parents inviting them for discussion, chat or views on improving the performance. As technology is progressing, the online system can simplify the process of tracking. Also this can decrease the teacher's burden because of the involvement. It will further strengthen a parent-kid relation and also foster sense of belongingness.
I say yes and im a 10th grade student. It will help me and i also think that test scores and gpa's will improve in all high schools. I have friends who forge their parents signatures on everything, so i doubt their parents even have a clue to what their grades are. i have been searching google bc i need to know my grades bc sometimes i dont have time to ask for my grades and even the teacher doesnt have time to stop and be able to tell me my grades. so i would greatly appreciate it..
I agree that online gradebook is a lot more work than paper and pencil. You were very emphatic about wanting to do what was most effective for YOU, but don't our students' parents deserve something that may be highly effective for them?
Our school district started a Parent Connect just this school year. I love it! Parents can go online and see how their student is doing before progress reports and report cards reach their house through the traditional mail system. I enter information about each assignment for myself, as well as for the parents/administrators that are checking up on a child. I also enjoy the benefits of the email system. I can respond to an email in a matter of minutes and answer all of the parent's questions. That same interaction would take 10-15 minutes on the phone.
I teach in a middle school where we have been required by our principal to do on-line grading for the past two years. I have been teaching for many years and it was difficult to change. Very difficult. You are correct in saying that the assignment information needs to be there also. It has turned out to be avery positive thing now. However, there are two things that continue to worry me. One, it makes the grading system less interactive. By that I mean that since the machine calculates so much of it, the teacher needs to make a concentrated effort to review how each child is really doing. Also, the parents often become the one responsible for getting things turned in and finished instead of the student. I have worked for years to make my middle school students responsible for their own learning and turning in assignments etc. These are just two potential problems. I am mostly in favor of the on-line grading now and it does increase communication with those families who use it well. There are also less surprises and parents and students both like have the print out in black and white available. For those just now switching over: It's not a matter of if, but when and how. This is the future. Don't try to keep both gradebooks, just do it on line and print it out often if you are paranoid.