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As a parent, teacher and a principal, I am very in favor of online access to grades. Were I to implement this in my school, however, I would make sure it was very clear to parents & students that teachers would update online grades every one or two weeks. This gives the benefits of online grading, without the added pressure on teachers to keep them up to date daily (something that parents no doubt would pressure for).
I don't think this should in any way replace parent teacher conferences (I perhaps wouldn't include final grades online...), as this interaction is essential.
I also agree with a previous poster that what is perhaps even MORE important is that parents have access to student assignments, rather than only grades. In my classroom, by the time it's a grade, students are often unmotivated (or unmotivate-able) to make corrections. But if parents can view the assignments, there is perhaps more chance the work will be done, and done right, the first time.
All this, of course, assuming that parents are truly active and engaged in their children's education.
I voted "YES" because having 161 students IS a huge case-load for every teacher at my school. The online gradebook makes everyone's lives and jobs easier. The parents at my school seem to really enjoy the freedom and unlimited access to monitor their child's progress. I announce to all my students and parents that they can always make an appointment with me, and using the online gradebook is a wonderful indicator for when an appointment is necessary.
My school system has a program called "SPAN," whereby both students and parents can view current grades on-line. When I post my grades into our State system (NCWise) they automatically are psoted on SPAN. I find this keeps my workload with parents decreased, as they can view the grades themselves. However, I still do call about poor grades or when I'm concerned!! I find that it works well.
The use of an open grade book really depends on the context of the classroom, school and district. In my classroom I use an ABC-Incomplete, or an ABCD-Incomplete grading system. If a student doesn’t achieve a passing score they do the work over until they succeed or have mastered the concept. This means that my record book is in a constant state of flux. I could have an A or B student who just scored poorly on one assignment or test, and because the record book reflects a zero for that assignment or test there average could be an F. This wouldn’t truly reflect what is happening at all in the student’s academic life and would be problematic if a parent saw this. A second factor for me is that I use a grade book program that allows me to periodically send reports home to parents. I also give all my students and their parents my home phone number to call me for help or to discuss any concerns they have. I personally prefer the phone call. However, again I believe the grading system should reflect the local environment and teaching style of the teacher.
My girlfriend managed to get her hands on blank report cards at the beginning of 9th grade. She had two sets of cards and signed the real ones herself so the signature remained the same.
For 3 years her parents thought she was always earning a B and above. The girl said it kept her parents off her back. These parents didn't know that they needed to be involved.
NO NO NO...#1: I am STILL not convinced my little darlings (7th/8th grade) can't hack into our systems. They are incredibly talented and smart. #2: I like having my own separate grades on a totally different computer that will produce grade printouts every 2-3 weeks which I HAND to each student personally.
I write to my parents weekly via email (all 300+). They know that if they ask I will email them a grade sheet. I also email all of my parents to let them know that grade printouts were given in class. I would rather have THAT kind of communication, than simply have them see a score up on the computer screen.
I use Easy Grade Pro as my gradebook and I am able to email students their grades. Parents and students must understand the meaning of the grades and the time it takes to grade different types of assessments. However, I usually only get responses from concerned, involved parents when a student earns a lower than expected grade.
Having access to grades are important, but what would be more useful to the parents and the students would be the ability to see the assignments, and the student’s responses to the assignments. This is all possible with the technology we have today—and most of the cyber schools are using it to its full advantage.
Its time that public schools get on board with the 21st century and use technology and organizational incentives to provide parents with real-time information for a more expeditious response in problem solving to reach academic expectations.
As for apathetic parents that rely solely on the school to produce a well-educated functional and productive person with a positive future—its time for dialogue to be initiated by the school; school districts have been silent about their limitations for too many years now, and with our country in such a precarious economic position its time to rally all parents especially the apathetic ones.
It's a no-brainer that parents should have easy access to their childrens' grades to provide limits and help for students before they fall too far behind.
While face-to-face parent-teacher conferences would be nice, present school realities with 43 students in a classroom and 5 classes a day need to easily facilitate parenting for parents and teachers whose work and life schedules make face-to-face conferences an indulgence they cannot always afford.
Furthermore, I find that the best schools are ones where school teachers, students, and administrators are aware of knowledgeable parent pressure that makes all aware that there are consequences for nonfeasance by all parties.
I think they should be accessible not only to parents, but to school admins who can use this data in a meaningful way.
The sad truth is that by High School, I find that teachers are lucky if 1/3 of the parents are interested enough in their student progress to take the time to LOOK at their kid's grades. It has been my experience, that many parents are completly apathetic by the time their students are in high school.