Clark reacts to student portal

Most students embrace the added info about their progress, while some teachers express concerns.

Since the student portal went live online last semester, students have been able to check their grades whenever they wish. Having their grades posted online allows students to effectively keep track of their grades and keep their academic performance in perspective.

With their grades posted online, students can now access their grades from their computers at home, or whenever they wish through their phones. Because grades are readily available online, the student portal has eliminated the need for teachers to constantly print out grade sheets for their students.

Although some teachers post their students’ grades on the student portal, they can choose to opt out of the program and not make grades available online. Of 22 teachers recently polled by the Chronicle, English teacher Stephanie Sajjadieh is one of the 13 who uses the student portal to allow her students to keep track of their grades.

“One of the positive effects is that I’ve had fewer people coming in and asking me if I’ve graded something yet,” she said. “Because they know that if I’m done with something, it’s going to be online.”

However, Sajjadieh believes having grades easily accessible online has caused unnecessary anxiety and stress for some students. “The student portal has created a new kind of grade-consciousness,” she said. “It’s resulted in students compulsively checking their grades.”

The student portal has created a new kind of grade-consciousness. It’s resulted in students compulsively checking their grades.

— Stephanie Sajjadieh

With the student portal, some students have now been more conscious of their grades, and are more keen to keep track of their assignments. “I could assign something now, and two hours later, someone comes in and asks me what grade they got,” Sajjadieh said.

One of the changes Sajjadieh noticed is that students no longer come in frequently to get back the essays they wrote. Because they can see their grades online, they no longer feel the need to come in during enrichment to get their graded work back. “I’ve had graded papers sitting on file for a while, and no ones come to check them,” Sajjadieh said. “It reinforces the idea that it’s no longer about the comments I make, but more about the grade I give.”

History teacher Eric Kursinski didn’t use the student portal to give his students access to their grades last semester. However, at the end of last semester, he activated it and allowed his students to see their grades online so that they knew what their grades were going into the final. “I think it actually causes students to freak out more than it causes them to be aware of their grades,” Kursinski said. “I’d prefer not to use it, but it helps.”

Kursinski explains how the student portal has helped, and how he doesn’t have to stay in during snack and lunch anymore to talk to students who ask about their grades.

“I told my students this semester that I’ll activate it,” he said. “But if I notice that it’s becoming a problem, then I’ll deactivate it.”

Nevertheless, some students have found the new system of the student portal to be highly effective. Junior Conner Clark checks his grades online once or twice a day, and says that the student portal allows students to keep track of their grades more efficiently. “It keeps you up to date,” Clark said. “That way you don’t have to keep going to you teachers to check up on your grades.”

Clark sometimes checks his grades before before tests or quizzes, and he said that he finds that knowing his grade before a test helps. “You see your grade, and even if it’s a good grade, you can always see that there’s room for improvement,” he said.

You see your grade, and even if it’s a good grade, you can always see that there’s room for improvement.

— Conner Clark

The student portal also allows Clark to know his grades before report cards come in the mail. “It’s a lot less anxiety,” he said. “I can talk to my parents about my grades beforehand, and I don’t have to worry too much about report cards when they come.”

Junior Sareen Shatikian also uses the student portal to keep track of her grades before report cards arrive. “Parents make a big fuss out of everything,” she said. “They always make things more dramatic than they have to be.” Shatikian says that knowing her grades beforehand has helped her in a very positive way. “It’s made me feel more secure about my grades, and it’s given me less stress,” she said.

Although not all of Shatikian’s teachers have her grades accessible online, she believes it is better for students to have complete access to their grades. “I think its better to know your grades because it helps you do better in school,” Shatikian said. “When you know your grades you can work to improve them. But if you don’t know your grades, then you’re just blindly going about not knowing how you’re doing in your classes.”

“Some teachers don’t post grades because they think you will get anxiety from knowing your grades every day,” said junior Artin Martirosyan. “But I think they should because it’s more convenient for you, and you get to keep track of your assignments and tests.” Martirosyan checks his grades on the student portal every day, and says that the best part about it is that it’s convenient. “I can check it whenever I want, I can check my grades even when I’m at home,” he said. “It’s better this way because you see your grade every day, and you can see where and how you can improve in your classes.”

Martirosyan says his parents also use the parent portal to keep track of his grades. “My mom already knew what I was going to get, so it wasn’t a big surprise when the report card came,” he said. “Parents see your grade so they know how you’re doing. You already know what they’re going to say when the report cards come.”

Since they have been using the student portal, students like Martirosyan have been able to manage their assignments more effectively, keep track of their performance in their classes, and be less stressed and anxious about their grades.