The Catalyst

The gradebook: Going dark during finals gives students one less thing to worry about

Michelle Kleytman, Opinion Editor

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Finals are easily one of the most significant stressors of high school, and second semester ones are no different. Everything you were taught over the course of nine months is reexamined through a thick test, extremely difficult essay, or tedious project. We panic through the month of May, reach the calm before the storm during dead week, climb to our mental capacity zeniths, and take our first long-awaited sigh of relief on May 30th.

Throughout the extreme hours of studying, excessive stress, and prolonged worry, I am thankful I don’t have my grades glaring at me, dangling themselves on my bright computer screen as I see progress alter by percentages. PowerSchool should continue to remain shut down during finals or else I seriously don’t know how much sanity I would have left.

During a matter of two weeks, our strengths and capabilities are ultimately put to the test. Study guides upon study guides; several trips to Philz Coffee; Facetimes that go into the wee hours of the morning; the stress of finals truly becomes an aesthetic come the final stretch of our school year.

Personally, I am not a fan of PowerSchool. I do not have it saved on my favorites tab, nor do I religiously check it to see insignificant climbs and drops that stagger around the same letter grade. But, I know not everyone is like I am; some find solace or comfort in having complete and unwavering access to their grades.

At its best, you see your grade increase by a fractional percentage, if at all, or you are stuck with seeing it remain unchanged; at its worst, PowerSchool is notoriously known for being prone to technological difficulties and driving us crazy when teachers don’t enter grades on a daily basis.

For my benefit and for yours, I recommend you save yourself from checking a website to see whether your effort equivocates to the percent or letter grade you thought it would during a time when your mental stamina is being put through the wringer. Please, don’t let PowerSchool add onto the heap of anxieties you already have.

For some, it might bring joy to see the grades before you entered a week of finals. But if you think about it, most teachers won’t even get to entering your grade until all finals have been completed, so why keep refreshing a page that might not yield fruitful results until it would normally be re-opened?

What if your grade goes down? Does that automatically mean you are not successful or didn’t try hard enough? Of course not. What if it goes up? Ask Mr. Loeffler to show you the mathematics that go behind calculating your final semester grade, and you’ll see that even by finishing with a perfect score on a test, it can only bring your grade up so much. In other words, what difference does it make? 

Don’t let grades define you, and moreover, don’t let one test that was taken in a roughly 70 minute period eclipse hard work of an entire school year.

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The gradebook: Going dark during finals gives students one less thing to worry about