Point/Counterpoint: Pro Online Grades

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With the startup of the myMFS portal, many issues have arisen involving the posting of grades online.  As of right now, students and their parents can see overall quarter grades for every quarter as far back as 2006.  However, many people are promoting the idea that detailed grades should be frequently updated on the portal.

“Students should see the breakdown of their grade,” said science department chair Barb Kreider.  Dr. Kreider has been posting students’ grades publicly as long as she has been teaching.  “My grading system is transparent; by that I mean that where the students’ grades come from is clear,” she said.  “It helps the students understand exactly how they’re getting their grades.  All of the grades I give are based on a rubric, one that I make entirely accessible to the students.  If they’re not doing well, a detailed breakdown of their grade can help the students understand which areas they need to improve in, which can help motivate these students.”  Dr. Kreider also mentioned that seeing a breakdown of students’ grades helps her fix any mathematical errors she may have made when calculating them.

Physics teacher Tim Clarke agreed with Dr. Kreider.  “It’s better that students see their grade continually updated throughout the quarter, as opposed to some grade ‘magically appearing’ at the end of the quarter.”  Mr. Clarke stressed the fact that giving parents access to their children’s grades would provide incentives for both students and teachers.  “Teachers would have to spread out their major assignments throughout the quarter, instead of packing them all at the end.  Because of that, students who normally might hide bad grades from parents throughout the quarter would now have their mid-quarter grades accessed by their parents, incentivizing them to work hard all throughout the quarter instead of playing catch-up right at the end.”

Dr. Kreider and Mr. Clarke are 100% correct.  The prospect of a distant A at the end of the quarter might not drive a student to push himself, and sheer “pleasure” derived from learning almost definitely won’t, but the knowledge that he is getting a C will likely incentivize a student to work harder to bring his grade up.

“I really don’t see any cons to the idea,” said ninth grade biology teacher Deborah Carter-Bruvik.  “It’s beneficial for everyone to see as much of their grade as possible.”  Mrs. Bruvik did stress the importance of students being somewhat lenient towards their teachers about their haste in posting grades, but otherwise said that nothing bad could really come of it.  “We’re moving in that direction anyway.  Almost every other school does it.”

Several teachers, including all of the aforementioned in this article, also mentioned the importance of involving parents in the learning process.  This concept is just one of the many ideas that would improve the learning experience for MFS students if detailed grades were posted online.

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