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Solution to a Student’s Concerns- Snapgrades Provides Immediate Answers to a Student Grade Questions

Graphic by Connie Zhou '12

I hate secrets. Secrets keep me in the dark, searching for answers. They make me anxious, keep me up at night and occasionally cause a cold sweat. Secret grades can provide high school students with both a sweating problem and keeping them up at night. I’m a student who likes to know my grades, and after talking to other students, I don’t think I’m alone.

This anxiety is curable with a website called SnapGrades. It provides a simple but effective solution to appease a student’s incessant desire to know his or her grade. It’s an online grade book that is accessible to both students and parents. It shows students their grade on every assignment and how it affects their quarter, semester and final year averages. This is vital information and more teachers should start using it for this upcoming school year.

“Kids never want to be in the dark about their grades,” said Matt Labarre ’11, a student who used SnapGrades in three classes throughout junior year. “Sure, when you get a test back you see how you did immediately, but one test alone really means nothing if you don’t know how it impacts your grade for the marking period or year.”

No matter what teachers do — posting grades openly online, hiding them in their own personal computer, calculating them minutes before the deadline — students will hunt them down to find their grade.

“Five years ago, I felt less inclined to share every detail of every grade transparently like this,” said physics teacher David Scrofani, who used SnapGrades for the first time during the 2009-10 school year. “But what I found was that no matter how hard I stressed the ‘focus on learning first and worry less about your grade,’ students continued to barrage me with questions about, well, their grades.”

Once Scrofani started using SnapGrades, students stopped meeting with him to discuss their grades; instead the conversations shifted to be about the curriculum, Scrofani said.

Students want to know where they stand and SnapGrades provides that critical information without having students to calculate it themselves or bother their teachers.

“If they [teachers] are going to test us, then we deserve to know how we did,” Labarre said.

For roughly $3,500, the school or the PTA can provide students with an open grade book by purchasing a SnapGrades group license for every teacher in the five core departments. The school already funds — a website that specializes in preventing plagiarism — so adding SnapGrades to the budget see,s reasonable. It’s worth the money.because teachers will be delighted by the online grade book is an easy piece of technology, increases the speed at which teachers can input grades and even has its own iPhone application.

“[SnapGrades] grew in popularity among the department because of its ease of use,” Scrofani said. “What took 10 minutes and 100 mouse clicks in another online grade book app took far less time and far less mouse action in SnapGrades.”

Saying no to SnapGrades because of the price is understandable, but students who care about their grades would like to use SnapGrades as a gauge to see how well they have mastered the curriculum.

“Overwhelmingly I heard from students that they appreciated having the info,” Scrofani said. “After all, if I have it, why shouldn’t they? Whatever helps them take charge of their own education and assessment… I am for that.”

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