The Catalyst

The gradebook: Going dark during finals only stresses students and parents out more

Johana Ligtenberg, Staff Writer

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Ever since freshman year, PowerSchool going dark right before finals has been a source of stress for me during finals week. I have always thought that it was pointless to close it; personally, I find it much more stressful to have to wait longer to know what your grade is in a class, and to not know what your grade is as final assignments are being entered.

I understand the argument against students bothering teachers for grades moments after they have taken the final. For writing-heavy classes such as History or English, many teachers take longer to give their students quality grading they deserve.

But why not instead simply ask students not to email teachers about it? Some teachers even do allow students to come by before the end of the school year or email them for their grade in the days following the final if the exam was given in a format that is quicker to grade (often Math classes or those that use a scantron portion).

Not to mention, the grade that students see right before the end of the school year is not always an accurate reflection of what your actual grade is going into the final since teachers often have review assignments due during the last week of school.

If students are required to have all their work in by the time PowerSchool goes dark, why does the same standard not apply to teachers? Do students not have the right to know what their most accurate grade is in a class before they take the final?

Many students will screenshot current grades directly before it closes to get the most recent possible assessment of our grade going into the final. Personally, I then use a final grade calculator to assess what I need to score on each final to get the grade I want in the class. Since I have always had between four and six finals during finals week, it is helpful for me to know what classes I should study particularly hard for and how I should distribute my time and effort spent preparing.

However, since PowerSchool goes dark, I do not actually know what my grade will be before I take the final. While several final assignments rarely ever change an entire semester’s average an entire letter grade, even a drop or boost several percent, will reflect in the necessary final grade.

One could argue that there is no point in putting an entire semester’s worth of effort into one test, but that’s a delusional perspective to hold — These tests do affect our final grades, and they can drop or maintain your grade.

Final exams are worth a mighty twenty percent of a student’s final grade in any given class — The work you put in all semester is worth 80% of your final grade.  This is particularly important for students with borderline grades such as those in the B+/A- range since the letter grade is what impacts our overall GPAs.

Finals are already one of the most stressful aspects of our high school careers. So, why would the school enforce a policy that only contributes to our stress and anxiety during this time?

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The gradebook: Going dark during finals only stresses students and parents out more