Monday, May 5, 2008

Tracking kids' grades on-line

Should we as parents be able to have access to every score our kids get at school?

This is an ABC story we ran today on WHOI:

"Thanks to the Internet, more and more schools are giving parents online access to their children's grades. Now moms and dads can go online and see everything from homework assignments to class participation every single day.

The online grade system also allows parents to track class rank and watch grades rise and fall.
Parents can even opt to get updates on their cell phones. While some parents feel it's a great resource to help keep track of their child's progress, experts caution that it should not be a substitute for understanding how hard a child is working.

One parent said, "I can go on on a daily basis, which I do, and see in a real time
fashion what is going on were they in class number one, did the homework go
from backpack to teacher's hand? it's about accountability for me."

Professor Elisabeth Guthrie said, "Using email to track your child's daily progress in school undermines the kind of trust a parent really needs to have with their child."

Thousands of students agree with Professor Guthrie and have started using outlets like Facebook to voice their frustrations."

Your child's school has to participate with the the online program Parent Connect in order for you to see the grades. I am sure other similar programs either exist now or will soon.

I didn't realize parents could do this. For young kids, I think it would be great, but I don't know about everyday. I would think the teachers wouldn't have time to do that and shouldn't take time away from teaching to write something about every student everyday. However, the Internet is making things easier. I would be a little irritated as a teenager if my parents jumped down my throat every time I did something that was unsatisfactory. At that age, I think kids need to learn how to handle their own problems.

What do you think?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

5 comments:

Shannon said...

Jen, I don't know how involved or utilized it is, but I did several stories a few years back for the paper when Pekin Community High School implemented this program.

I remember it even had settings that connected it to the kids' lunches, so parents could put money on their account - but it could also allow for parents to see what the kids had eaten for lunch. (I'm assuming it was a receipt system, not meant to be some kind of nutrition stalking device...) In any case, school districts could choose which options they wanted to utilize in the software and I don't think PCHS was using that part, not at the time anyway.

They also put some kiosks at public places (like grocery stores) for parents who didn't have computer access at home, but I'm guessing those are gone now.

I was just going over the very detailed letter my son's first grade teacher sends home at the end of every week and wondering if my parents ever knew half of what I know about my son's days at school! The letter was sent home on Friday but I just read it tonight, so I guess that means I rely more on the info. I get from my son than what I get from the school - which is how I hope it stays for a long time.

newsanchormom.com said...

I will have to call Pekin and see if they are using the program. It sounds interesting and I would like to see how a teacher could possibly find time to do it.

I agree with you that I do want my kids to tell me what happens in school. I think that social interaction is very important.

rachel b said...

I am a teacher whose school uses a program for parents to check student’s grades online. However, it is not required that teachers post grades to the site. I chose to post the students' grades, but not weekly, especially in the beginning of a quarter. If we've only taken three grades, and a student has done poorly on even one of those assignments, the grade will be low and can cause concern when there really isn't any need to be.

Each year, only about half of the parents even used the program. Some parents have no idea that they can check grades, others bring the pages and pages of grades to parent/teacher conferences!

I personally think it is nice that parents can check their student's progress. It also shows parents where their student struggles...whether it is daily homework, tests, participation, etc.

Anonymous said...

Jen,

Unit 5 uses a program called skyward. We have access to our children's grades, their lunch accounts,their attendance records and to view their emergency contact info. Our children are in pre-k, kindergarten and third grade this year. The info published for the pre-k child is limited to his emergency contact list and the attendance record since he doesn't get graded or have lunch at school. The older two children's teachers do not update the grades daily on there like they would in the grade books at school but we can see what the grade is as of the last time it has been updated by the teacher and what grade they got in the other trimesters and what their final grade in that class was for the year as of the day we look at it. (unit 5 now has 3 trimesters instead of 4 quarters or 2 semesters)

Jennifer said...

My friend's son goes to Washington Co High School and she can check his grades online. It will tell her any missing assigments and also if he scored in the top 5 grades for his class (or bottom 5), I think on any given assignment. I think it would be good, especially at the high school level, to see, not just your child's grade on a test, but the average grade for the class on the test, as that would give you an idea of how hard the test was. (For example, if your kid got a 60 and the average was an 85, you would know that he/she might be having a hard time comprehending the information or may have neglected studying, where, if your child had a 60 and the average test score was close to that, you might assume the test was really difficult or the material wasn't adequately covered)
I wish my kids' school had grades posted online. I think it would be handy in heading off a poor grade. I, personally, would watch for trends, for example, if my child usually had 90's on math assignments and suddently veered into the lower 80's, I would know to investigate, "is he/she having trouble with comprehension?"
And, while kids bring home droves of papers in early grade school, in later years it seems like they bring home a lot less graded work, so it's much harder to guage how they are doing.

 
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