This year, School Loop has replaced Blackboard as the online application source for students. This modification has brought about many changes in the way students navigate their way through checking homework, test dates and class handouts. One of the features that makes School Loop different in comparison to the former site used is the grade viewing accessibility. Under the tab titled “Dashboard,” in the student’s personal folder called the “Portal,” one can now view current grades in his or her classes in a neat, tidy format. While this can be helpful to see where you stand in your courses, it is also School Loop’s most notable weak point, from the student’s point of view, in its otherwise nearly flawless system.
Now that mailed progress reports have been made obsolete in the Acalanes Union High School District, all grades must be viewed online. This environmentally friendly alternative would be perfect if it were not for School Loop’s once a day email reminders to each Miramonte parent every time a teacher updates a student’s grade.
The system of sending scores to parents whenever there’s a slight change in the grade book is unnecessary and simply, overkill. It causes problems despite its undoubtedly commendable objective of keeping parents and students updated.
Unfortunately, Orinda has the reputation for being the home to some overbearing, grade obsessed parents. While the system’s intention of keeping parents involved with their child’s schoolwork is well intended, the fact that parents now possess unlimited grade viewing ability inflicts additional stress and anxiety on those students whose parents see one small quiz score and then confront the student. While it may be beneficial to some, for the most part, students at Miramonte are under enough pressure without having the added strain of knowing that their parents are likely to receive an updated grade sheet every day. According to a survey done by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, 80 percent of 13 to 19 year olds feel pressure to get good grades and 38 percent of those said it’s the biggest stress in their life.
Most Miramonte students who own smart phones have their personal email set up for message viewing convenience. However, with School Loop’s grade messaging system, students are reminded of their current grades twice in one day: once from their smart phone email and a second time from their computer email account.
The truth is that everyone has bad days. When the result on a quiz, test, or homework assignment may not be completely favorable, this isn’t something they want broadcasted to their family each and every time. A quarterly update should be sufficient. Even a small quiz can make an overall grade fluctuate, especially if there aren’t many other scores in the grade book. By the time students enter high school, they are aware that one poor grade on one exam can be made up later and isn’t the end of the world.
So while School Loop made grade posting significantly more efficient, it has just placed another element of stress on Miramonte students. As the saying goes, there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
The Editorial Board Voted 6-3
against School Loop parent grade access