When you think of an online gradebook, what comes to mind? Perhaps a portal where teachers post assignments and students submit their work electronically. Maybe a place where grades are automatically calculated and posted for easy viewing by both students and parents. Or maybe a spot where important school-related announcements are posted for all to see.
Whatever you envision an online gradebook to be, there’s a good chance that your local school’s version doesn’t quite match up. In fact, there can be a big difference between the idealized version of an online gradebook and the reality.
What Schools Get Wrong About Online Gradebooks
One major issue is that not all schools have the same type of online gradebook system. Some use commercial software that can be expensive for schools to maintain and upgrade. Others develop their own in-house system, which may not have all the features that parents and students want or need.
Another issue is that even when schools do have a good online gradebook system, it’s not always used to its full potential. Teachers may not take the time to input grades and other information on a regular basis. Or they may only use the gradebook to post assignments and announcements, rather than using it as a tool to help students and parents track progress and identify areas of concern.
Sometimes, schools have certain negative views about online gradebooks as well, which are not necessarily true. For example, some schools believe that online gradebooks are only for parents and students who want to check on their child’s progress. Others think that online gradebooks are only for posting grades, rather than for providing other useful information.
What Parents and Students Want From an Online Gradebook
So what do parents and students really want from an online gradebook? Here are a few of the most commonly cited features:
The ability to see all grades in one place
Parents and students want to be able to see all of a child’s grades in one spot, rather than having to search through different websites or portals.
This is especially important for parents, who want to be able to see how their child is doing on a regular basis. It’s also helpful for students who are trying to monitor their own progress.
Parents and students don’t want to have to wade through a lot of technical jargon in order to understand what a grade means. They want to be able to quickly and easily see how well their child is doing in each subject.
The ability to contact the teacher
Parents and students should be able to easily contact the teacher if they have questions about grades or assignments.
While it’s unrealistic to expect every online gradebook to have all of these features, it’s important for schools to at least be aware of what parents and students are looking for. By understanding the expectations vs. reality of an online gradebook, schools can make sure that they’re providing the best possible experience for all involved.
Zara Raza is the Head of Marketing at SchoolCues, the all-in-one small school solution for schools with limited budgets and resources.