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Update the gradebook

Delayed grades on SIS causes tension between teachers and students

Juniors Shirley Chu and Nicole Solis ask IB Physics teacher Angel Fitzgerald about a lab. Fitzgerald regularly updates her students' gradebooks, but many teachers don't do the same.

BINQI CHEN

Juniors Shirley Chu and Nicole Solis ask IB Physics teacher Angel Fitzgerald about a lab. Fitzgerald regularly updates her students' gradebooks, but many teachers don't do the same.

Binqi Chen, Editorials Editor

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Are you tired of seeing zeros when logging onto SIS? You’re not alone. Many students face the same problem of being greeted by a line of zeros or N/As in the place where their grades are supposed to because some teachers are far behind in posting grades.

One of the main reasons for the creation of the online gradebook was for it to act as a source of motivation for students to be on top of their classes, but some teachers are making that increasingly difficult by not entering grades in a timely fashion.

One class at where un-updated grades have become frustrating is AP English.

“”AP English [grades] are updated probably biweekly,” senior Jessica Smith said.

There are teachers who don’t input grades for weeks on end. There is really no valid reason as to why an assignment turned in at the beginning of the quarter only gets returned during the final class before the end of the grading period.

Instead, there are teachers that wait until the week that grades are due to update the gradebook. Since FCPS closes access to the gradebook to parents and students during this time period, this has become a concern that needs to be addressed.

Inserting grades at the very end of the quarter can drastically change a student’s grade either positively or negatively. Often, students are not prepared for the grade shift and do not have enough time to bring their grades up with retakes or alternative assignments.

Another problem is the anxiety buildup that comes with an updated gradebook. Students are constantly drowning in an ocean of uncertainty of what their positions are in their classes due to the blank assignments.

“Un-updated grade books do stress me out, and I’m sure it stresses out other people, too,” Smith said. “You don’t know where you stand in the class, and that can be frustrating.”

This can also lead to conflicts between teachers and their pupils. Students bombard teachers with questions and reminders to update their grades, and these requests can come off as inconsiderate or downright rude.

This only leads to the teachers not wanting to input graded items and tension can arise in the classroom.

Problems also go beyond just the teacher and their students. Parents and administration often get involved as well. Parents even contact teachers themselves in emails or phone calls and these forms of communication may also come off as confrontational which puts teachers in a tight spot.

Students, when talking to your teachers about grades, be sure that you remain respectful. Keep in mind that just as you have events going on outside of school, teachers are busy too and sometimes they need to catch a break.

Instead of sending a harsh sounding email that can come off the wrong way, a friendly and quick chat with your teacher is a better way to approach the problem. However, if it becomes a recurring issue, perhaps administration can find a better solution for both parties.

Teachers are constantly reminding students to be diligent in completing their assignments on time, but why aren’t they on top of grading work? Exceptions can be made to essays or projects that need to be looked over in-depth.

Even though there are teachers that do not routinely update SIS, there are just as many teachers who are very fast and punctual about grading items. Some teachers are able to grade tests the day they are taken and scores are on SIS just a few hours after school that same day.

However, since this is the second year of the accessible online gradebook, students are seeing an improvement from last school year. Teachers are becoming more comfortable with the new system.

Hopefully, students will soon no longer have to face empty gradebooks as teachers adjust to SIS and will begin to insert grades frequently. This will make everybody’s lives easier.

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Update the gradebook