Keeping Posted on the Portal
By: Olivia M.
As stated in the Duxbury High School Handbook, “Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, teachers are required to make their grades public and update their online gradebooks every two weeks. Thus, quarterly progress reports will no longer be posted on the portal.” This new policy implemented requires teachers to submit grades biweekly, therefore notifying students of their academic standings on a regular basis.
Assistant Principal Jim Donovan said, “By large our staff does a great job with updating [the portal] especially with large grades such as research papers.” Supporting Donovan’s statement, freshman Rachel K. said that she uses the portal every other day and that all of her teachers comply with the new two week rule. On the other hand, junior Emily G. said that one of her teachers does not submit grades often. Several teachers said that they have not heard any complaints about the policy in staff meetings. These teachers also said that the policy is not a change for them because they have kept their classes’ portal public from the beginning.
Before each quarterly term comes to a close, the portal shuts down, and it denies students and their parents access to viewing grades. “When the portal shuts down before grades close it makes me freak out because then I don’t know for sure if my grade will change,” said Emily. In spite of what Emily said, freshman Clay N. said that he does not mind when the portal temporarily closes because he has not tried to check his grades then.
As far as students viewing their grades, Donovan said, “Students should know where their grades stand.” Sophomore Rachel W. said, “I check the portal every single hour.” Not only does the portal open up access to grades for teachers and students, but also parents have the ability to monitor their child’s grades on the portal. Rachel also added that when she looks at the portal, her parents do too. Sophomore Megan T. said that even though her parents check her grades at least once a week, she only logs into the portal once a month because she does not remember her password. Freshman Meg G. said, “[My parents] care about my grades but not enough to check it everyday. They want me to be responsible enough to check it myself.” While sophomore Anna B. said that with the portal, there is no way to hide any grades because her parents get notified when grades are posted on the portal. When asked about how the portal affects students and their families, science teacher Ms. Benson said, “I find that there are surprisingly a lot of students and parents that don’t look at it.”
In previous years, paper progress reports and report cards were issued to students. However, now with the portal frequently used as such a vital tool, all grades are electronic. For the future, Donovan said, “We are moving to a less paper, more virtual experience.”