The infamous words “REPORT CARDS are here!” are no longer heard by the students at Bethel High School. With the introduction of PowerSchool, an online grade book, report cards no longer exist. Instead, PowerSchool provides students and parents with an all access pass to their grades, allowing monitoring of every assignment, right down to individual homework.
“I love it because it allows me to see my grades on a daily basis,” says Nicole Meadows. Many students enjoy the ability to track their assignments or “account for work that I have not done,” says Andrew Bellamy.
Emily DeFazio especially like PowerSchool because “it lets me see what I am doing wrong” and it give her the opportunity to “fix my grade.” DeFazio further adds, “I check PowerSchool at least twice a day because I want to know how my grades are changing at every point in the day.”
Like DeFazio, Megan Marx admits to “hitting refresh” on her PowerSchool as much as possible. “Although I know nothing will happen if I refresh [the page], I still do. I basically check it like I check Facebook.”
Mr. Krupnikoff, Math teacher at Bethel High School, thinks “its good that parents can look up the grades of their kid and see how their [kids] are doing.” However, he insists on returning all assignments back to each student before the grades are posted on PowerSchool because “it is better to have the student be able to see where they went wrong before somebody says to them ‘Hey! You didn’t do well on this test’ [when] they haven’t seen the grade yet.”
Meadows agrees that PowerSchool has a few flaws: “When parents go on they don’t understand that teachers don’t always update grades.” This can sometimes give parents a “false impression” about their children’s scores.
Mrs. Maureen DeFazio, mother of a sophomore at BHS, is a strong supporter of PowerSchool because it “helps keep me informed” while making sure her daughter is “on task” and “motivated.” Additionally, it addresses issues if and when they occur. “For instance last year I noticed an “F” for a homework grade and my daughter said she did it. I emailed the teacher and it turned out it had been misplaced.”
PowerSchool can be a wonderful innovation, but with this said, it must be used appropriately. Tracy Yost, mother of three students at BHS, claims “There needs to be some guidelines so that the student becomes empowered; and PowerSchool is not to be used as a ‘big-brother’ tool.”
Within the last year that PowerSchool has been used at BHS, it has come with mixed reviews. A lot of students appreciate the ability to check their grades whenever they like. Unless you are one of the few who, like Adam Chop, “miss getting my grades in the mail.”
This is the second installment of Lily Ziegler’s series of articles on technology in school.