Why Online Gradebooks Are Changing Education


Flipped Learning
Students solve problems in Crystal Kirch’s pre-calculus class at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. A growing number of teachers are implementing what is known as “flipped learning,” in which students learn lessons as homework, mostly through online videos produced by teachers, and use classroom time to practice what they learned. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

How did my son perform on his high-school physics test this morning? Seconds after the teacher posts his score online, I can find out. With just a few more clicks, I can also tell you how the grade affected his overall performance for the quarter, his GPA for the year, how many times he was late for school, and what he ate for lunch this week.

All of this information is readily available to parents at any time through our school district’s virtual gradebook

—an increasingly popular tool that is reshaping parental involvement in schools nationwide and opening up the black box of student assessment. Experts predict that these programs will evolve using the latest technology to measure increasingly varied facets of students’ educational lives. While many parents seem to appreciate the increased connections with their schools, others—myself included—are not interested in the constant surveillance and assessment of their children.

More here

3 thoughts on “Why Online Gradebooks Are Changing Education

  1. I hadn’t considered this from the K-12 perspective. I’m just happy to field far fewer questions along the lines of “what was my mark on that assignment?” or “what’s my mark in the course so far?” It could create even more demand for immediate information/explanations that’s bound to be problematic.


  2. I really appreciate it for keeping tabs on my big kids’ grades.

    My younger brother’s high school career was a bit of a trainwreck due to the fact that my parents had very little idea what his academic situation was until it was almost too late. He eventually turned it around, but it limited his college opportunities.

    My oldest child is sometimes disorganized and has a very uneven track record in certain subjects, so it’s nice to be get an email warning that she’s got a missing assignment or a very low grade and be able to ask her immediately what the deal is. I also find the online system helpful when I’ve gotten too many no-homework-tonights and I feel the need to check and see if that is so. (Pro tip: middle school children can be somewhat lawyerish with regard to the question of whether or not studying for a test or working on a project counts as “homework.”) I’ll very occasionally ask the teacher what’s going on, but only if the answers I’m getting from kids are unsatisfactory. 90% of the time, I don’t need to bother the teacher.

    Observation affects phenomena. You can improve results just by monitoring them.

    I don’t think I go completely Tiger Mom, but I am watching, and my kids know I am watching. Also, as of this year (oldest in 8th grade, middle kid in 5th) I’ve instituted an end of semester bonus program. The kids’ grades are decent without that, but I think it helps to have an external motivation to bump a 91 into a 95 or a 96 to a 100–otherwise, from the average kid’s point of view, those are essentially the same thing. At the end of term, we now pay $5 per course grade of 95-99 and $7 for grades of 100 or better (some courses offer extra credit). Our oldest is saving for a senior trip in four years, so it’s a very welcome addition to her savings.


  3. From the article:

    “At the same time, parents can get overly attached to the constant information rewards the software provides. “Your kid gets an A one day, then a C the next, and then an A the following day,” Levine said. “Parents end up logging in too many times. It’s seductive and addictive. One loses the ability to manage it.””

    Eh, really?

    I’m doing awesome if I check once a week.


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