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November 24, 2014


In our school, the middle school students can access their grades via online gradebook at all times, but while we use the same gradebook in the Upper School, the capability for students to view it is turned off. We decided that upper school students should be accountable for keeping track of their own grades or advocating with their teachers to ask questions about grades, while teachers should also be responsible for giving grade updates when appropriate. We operate on a quarter system, with the option to write interims mid-quarter for students who are struggling, so this seems reasonable to me. As a parent of middle shcool students, I see the same kind of stress that you are talking about, and it worries me to see them so closely focused on grades.

Our blackboard has a feature that I can upload the grades without allowing the students to see them until after I've given their assignments back. I learned pretty early on not to give them the grade before giving back the assignment-- avoids a lot of "why is my grade so low" emails!

Privacy legislation would have our behinds if we had a system where one faculty member could see another's grades. At this point, we can't even see the rest of a student's grades unless she/he prints out a copy and brings it to the office.

I do enjoy using the CMS to share grades and feedback. I concur with nicoleandmaggie that the feature where you can choose when to share that information is even better!

In blackboard, I can choose to display/not display info to students, so sometimes I put the grades up but delay the turning on until I've had a chance to return the work. I also use the gradebook to track absences and whether various process stages are turned in--I also keep a paper copy (easier to take attendance with in classes small enough to take attendance), but I like the way the online gradebook has made all the "but I DID that assignment three months ago" problems go away.

It does seem weird, though, that the grades are open to other faculty.

My middle school daughter is experiencing this as a student for the first time--she checks her grades obsessively, and I do hope she learns to start pondering what she's learning/what she needs to do next a little bit more than "hurray! I have an 88%" sort of reaction.

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Who is this What Now?

  • I'm an English teacher at Fabulous Girls' School (FGS). I'm a convert to Judaism. I am partner to D. We live in an adorable, messy little house in Adventure City. Two cats -- the Muse and the Contemplative -- live with us and keep life at home plenty adventurous.

    Email me at whatnowblogger at yahoo dot com.

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