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WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Grades should be made available to students at all times

James Farley
The current location in PowerSchool where students receive their progress reports and quarterly report cards.

In high school, the utmost priority for students is their academics. With this reality comes the responsibility to dedicate a great deal of time to schoolwork. This can be seen through students staying up late to complete homework assignments, meeting with teachers after school for extra help, and studying for assessments with peers. Understandably so, with this hard work comes students’ interest in knowing what their grade is throughout the school year.

However, with the current system that Westford Academy follows for releasing grades, students are only officially made aware of their grades twice every quarter: once in a progress report that is released a few weeks into each quarter, and once in an end-of-quarter report card. This process leaves students questioning their grades throughout the majority of the school year, only knowing the ballpark range of their grades. To solve this problem, constantly updated grades should be made visible to WA students at all times throughout the school year.

Currently, with the two updates per quarter outline, students revert to frequently asking teachers for updates on their grades. As a student, I rarely do so, as I do not want to make a hassle for my teachers, but that does not mean that I do not want to see my grades. By making grades always available to students, this concern is immediately eliminated.

Some teachers have already tried to make a change in this direction by keeping students’ grades updated in the “classwork” tab of their Google Classroom page. While this is a luxury for students who have teachers who do so, and I appreciate my teachers who do this, it does not solve the problem. Updated grades on Google Classroom are inconsistent across classes, as only a select few teachers actually do this. The grade that appears also only accounts for assignments completed on Google Classroom, and not other assignments like those on paper. Thus, the grade is not a completely accurate indicator as to what a student’s true score in a class is.

Instead of having this inconsistency on Google Classroom, WA should find a way for teachers to update their students’ grades throughout each quarter on PowerSchool, allowing grades to be easily accessible for all classes, all the time. Not only will this keep students aware of how they are doing in each class, but will also allow for parents to easily stay updated on how their kids are doing. They would be able to check in with their kids at any time throughout the quarter on their status in classes, rather than it being a conversation at the end of every quarter.

The implementation of updated grades being available on PowerSchool also forces kids to be held accountable for their grades throughout the whole quarter. They would easily be able to recognize if they are off to a slow start, and proceed to make a plan to get their grade up by the time report cards come out at the end of the quarter. This easy room for growth is not present with WA’s current method.

Similarly, stress for students would be reduced with this change, as it would eliminate the angst that comes with report cards looming at the end of every quarter. Instead, it would be in students’ hands to stay updated on their grade at all times, helping them to avoid sudden scares.

Additionally, PowerSchool always displaying students’ grades would allow WA to do away with progress reports. I do not believe that progress reports are worthwhile, as they only show a very brief glimpse into a students’ work in the classroom due to accounting for a short period of time. Sometimes there isn’t even a test grade on the progress report, likely making the grades much higher due to only homework and participation grades being on it. I have had many teachers indicate that this grade is without a major assessment having taken place yet, making it known that the progress report grade will likely not be the final grade by the time report cards come out.

If even teachers acknowledge that progress reports are inconsistent, why do we still use them? This issue is resolved if grades are always available to students, as progress reports would no longer be needed at all. 

With that being said, this change would create more work for teachers, as they would have to update their students’ grades on PowerSchool daily. Alongside this added layer of work, parents being able to always see their child’s grades has the potential to increase the amount of stress they place on their kid, as well as the number of complaints they have for teachers. This could become problematic.

However, this change outweighs any concerns that it may come with. This work done by teachers would help students to increase their awareness of how they are doing in a class, providing them with the opportunity to grow as learners. If the expectation of updating grades becomes too much, then making it a weekly or bi-monthly update would still be effective for students.

Overall, making grades viewable at all times for students would be a majorly beneficial step made by WA, and as a student, I can confirm that it would please the student body. Whether it is implemented at the beginning of next year or sometime else in the future, this change should be made as soon as possible.

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About the Contributor
James Farley
James Farley, Editor-in-Chief
Hey, my name is James Farley, and I am a senior Editor-in-Chief for the WA Ghostwriter!  I love writing, and also have a passion for sports, so I am excited to incorporate these aspects of my life into my work here for the newspaper. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and friends, going on vacations, and playing sports. I can’t wait for what’s in store this year with the Ghostwriter!

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