Over the past year, there has been a proposal to introduce an electronic grade portal for the student body. Currently, numerous public schools throughout New England use electronic grade portals as a helpful grading tool for teachers and students. The electronic grade portal would allow students to access their grades online and survey their overall grade as they approach the ends of the first and second semester. There has been much debate on the practicality of the system, and the issue presides over whether the grade portal would positively or negatively affect the students. Many members of the school have considered the apparent effects of instituting an electronic grade portal.
Mr. Sweeney, a math teacher for various grades, provided a few thoughts on the proposal of a student grade portal. He initially declared that he was not a huge proponent for a student grade portal. He claimed that there could be a few positive effects, such as increased accountability from the students. Students might keep track of their grades easier and use the system as a tool to improve their grades. Practically, however, he asserted that a student grade portal would not be necessarily beneficial to the math department. Mr. Sweeney explained that, in his classes, students are allowed to see their grade whenever they ask him. He added that all the graded material in his classroom is returned to the students as soon as possible. To conclude, he alleged that, for him, there was no need for a student grade portal. Mr. Sweeney also addressed the inherent problems within a student grade portal. Increased parental involvement might create a misplaced focus on grades rather than learning. Additionally, stress, an already apparent obstacle at Belmont Hill, may increase with the addition of a grade portal. Also, when asked about Google classroom as an alternative system for grading, Mr. Sweeney stated, “in the math department, almost nothing changed when we switched to an electronic system [google classrooms].”
Mr. Smith also offered more insight into the issue. When asked about the possibility of a student grade portal, Mr. Smith responded, “as of now, a student grade portal is not technologically possible given our current system.” He further elaborated, “the school would have to update our internal system and integrate a technological platform.” Regarding practicality, Mr. Smith declared that a student grade portal would not help to improve a student’s grades. Mr. Smith remarked, “the number one pathway to improving grades is working with teachers.” Rather than adhering to the possibility of a student grade portal, Mr. Smith encouraged that students visit their teachers and build good relationships. He further exclaimed that, according to the Academic Policy Committee, teachers are mandated to share grades with their students. Furthermore, he explained how many teachers have already switched to live updating gradebooks, which would allow students to see their overall averages at desired times throughout the school year. Contrasting his opinions on a student grade portal, Mr. Smith advocated that Google sites and Google classroom were helpful tools in his classrooms. He shared how having an online module allowed him to share his documents and assignments more easily with his classes.
Already, with Google classroom becoming more of a tool in classrooms, Belmont Hill is becoming more dependent on online tools. However, a student grade portal appears impossible with our current system, the possibility of a grade portal may increase as the school investigates new technologies.