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Online Grading Systems: Friend or Frenemy?

The typical public high school teacher is responsible for 160 students and teaches at least two different classes–e.g. AP English 11 and Honors English 9–with multiple sections of each course, for example: 3 periods of AP English 11.    So, what does this have to do with an online grading system?   If one assignment is given for our hypothetical English teacher, now 105 AP English 11 students, have turned in at least one piece of paper for the teacher to review, grade, then enter into the online grading system.  If the teacher spends 5 minutes per student’s assignment correcting, that’s 8.75 hours of work–BEFORE, starting to enter the grades into the online grading system.    Depending on the organization of the teacher and the time required to “correct” assignments, the online grading system may not be updated as often as students (and their parents) expect, since assignments are continuous.  These possible delays have stress provoking potential.  

A good, old-fashioned conversation with the teacher on an on-going basis, face-to-face (as again email communications may be slower than expected, as well as meanings and questions can possibly be misunderstood) can help gain perspective on a student’s progress.  Plus, the student gains the added bonus of building a connection with a teacher who could possibly serve as a letter of recommendation writer for future college applications.  As students enter high school, having the student take the lead in communicating with their teachers, before the parent, is wise.  Students can learn to collaborate with their teachers, as well as be responsible for their own learning.  Parents’ guidance from the side can help teens mature into this new role, and be a safety net if needed.