Online grading systems in area schools have made it more convenient for parents to monitor their children’s grades, test scores, attendance and conduct before possibly troubling patterns take root.
With the simple click of a mouse and a password, I can find out how my daughter has scored on social studies tests and math assignments in her fifth-grade class or see whether she is getting to class on time. It worked for my husband a few years ago when he noticed his then 10th-grade son’s grades dropping. During his lunch breaks, he perused the online grading system and discovered that his son had failed to turn in several school assignments and was arriving to some classes late.
He confiscated his son’s smart phone and stayed online, daily monitoring his grades and attendance habits from there on. This year, he is a 12th-grade honor student, thanks in part to his father’s use of his school’s online grading system.
Iberville Parish school teacher Kristy Brignac Smith said the system works.
“It’s a great thing if the parent is checking the grades and keeping up with what the child is making in his/her class. That way, if they are not doing so well, then they can catch it early,” said Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy West.
Times have changed since I was a child. There were no virtual report cards in 1984, so my parents found out the painful way one fall during a nine-weeks grading period in my 10th-grade year. My grades plummeted to unspeakable lows in several classes, and my parents set up parent/teacher conferences, placed me in study skills classes and confiscated my VCR and cassette tapes. I spent my weekends at the library.
An online grade tracking system would have saved me a lot of agony in those years.
Thankfully, virtual report cards are up and ready for children in the 21st century. Those attending Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academies use their district’s online grading system frequently, said Candice Breaux, director for grades six through 12 at MSA’s west academy in Plaquemine.
“I would estimate that at least 80 percent of the MSA parents use this feature. This allows parents to stay informed of a student’s performance in school. This is an added means of teacher/parent communication,” Breaux said.
Online reporting is also useful for students, Breaux said. “The portal allows them to see if they are missing assignments or if they did not perform up to their expectations on tests or assignments,” Breaux said.
Parents and students also have a range of other technological tools, including emailing teachers or visiting their child’s virtual classroom website for information on activities, assignments and upcoming classroom events.
“Even with all of these alternatives to communication, Open House and Progress Report Nights are still important,” said Breaux. “By having open houses, the parents are able to meet the teachers face-to-face and begin to know who is teaching their children. It builds the family atmosphere and nurturing environment.”
Online grading systems are a powerful tool for parents seeking to stay abreast of their children’s academic progress, and it helps parents work hand-in-hand with teachers.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer for The Advocate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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