Grades entered on last day of the quarter, create frantic students: Do better, teachers

Students+commonly+see+this+screen+on+their+powerschool+page%2C+showing+nothing+but+empty+slots+where+grades+should+be.+Some+teachers+decide+to+wait+until+the+last+minute+to+input+their+grades+for+the+quarter%2C+leaving+students+questioning+and+wondering+what+their+grades+will+be+for+the+quarter.+%0A%0A

Photo by Izzy Sareen ’22

Students commonly see this screen on their powerschool page, showing nothing but empty slots where grades should be. Some teachers decide to wait until the last minute to input their grades for the quarter, leaving students questioning and wondering what their grades will be for the quarter.

Izzy Sareen ’22, Staff Writer

It’s the time all students dread: the end of the quarter. For Staples High School students, it’s a little more rough than it may seem. The last two weeks of the marking periods always leave students frantic and rushing to get all of their work in. However, it is quite common for many students to see empty spots in Powerschool where grades should be, due to teachers not inputting grades until the last minute. This is not efficient nor productive. 

Before my objection is dismissed as a complaint from a whiny, entitled teenager, understand that this issue extends beyond making students stress: it’s just bad educational practice. 

We have approximately two and a half months per quarter where assignments are sprinkled throughout. These assignments are provided in an attempt to assess student learning, but learning cannot occur if we are not given the feedback we need to improve. 

These assignments are provided in an attempt to assess student learning, but learning cannot occur if we are not given the feedback we need to improve. ”

— Izzy Sareen ’22

How are we supposed to learn if we don’t know what we did wrong? How are we supposed to improve if we are never given the chance?

Let me tell you a real example so you may better understand the severity of this issue.

When I was a freshman, I once had an A in a class up until the second to last day of grade finalization week, which dropped to a B- the night before grades closed because the teacher entered grades for major assignments that were completed at the start of the quarter. 

We were only given small 5-point, in-class and homework assignments, which made most students have a 100 in the class until the major assignments were put in the grade book. But the time they were all entered was the night before grades closed. 

This left me in the helpless position of not being able to review the work that was graded to understand what I had done wrong.  I was provided no opportunity to talk to their teacher before grades are official. 

Unfortunately, as a Staples student, this freshman year experience was not the only time I suffered from a lack of feedback.  I have had teachers who would put multiple, heavily-weighted grades into Powerschool the night before they are required to be finalized, leaving me with absolutely no time to go in and talk to them about the assignments.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I have taken several classes that follow an organized model of grading, such as Advanced Journalism. 

In this class, our teachers start each student at an F at the beginning of the quarter. All assignments for the quarter are already posted in the grade book, and marked as incomplete.  Then, as we progress through the quarter, these zeroes are replaced with the grades we earn after completing each assignment.  

This model helps us see what we need to submit and what we need to work on. For each major assignment there is a due date students are made aware of in the beginning of the quarter. This helps us submit everything on time, and plan ahead. After we submit each assignment, we meet with our teacher(s) in order to discuss what edits could be made, and what we could improve on for the next assignment. This is an example of a class that allows for students to be prepared, which contributes to an efficient learning and grading environment.  

This is only one example of the many models and methods for organizing grades. It may take some time to find the perfect one for each school discipline, but it will all be worth it in the end, for both the students and teachers alike.