Do you check your students’ grades online? How often?

Many schools offer a way for parents to view their kids’ grades online. I personally don’t want to look. I ask them how they are doing. They show me their papers and their grades. In theory I should know what their grades are.

I think I am afraid that if I start looking I will look all the time and micromanage their school work. I want them to be responsible and know when things are due, know when tests are and know when they are in trouble.

Blackboard is the common tool for online grades for colleges. It is amazing. The kids check their grades constantly on it — especially the ones trying to keep their state scholarships.

Update to this story: I wrote this last week and since last week I have actually used the grade website twice. Walsh somehow missed a test in math, and I was trying to figure out how. So I looked up the date of his absence and the date of the test on the website. So that was very helpful. Rose also came home with a 100 on her math test, and we were trying to figure out what her overall grade would be so we looked online to see if it was added in. So now that I have saved the log in and password to a safe place, I am appreciating having the ability to look online if necessary.

Do you look at your students’ grades online? Why do you look instead of ask them?

37 comments Add your comment

FCM on my cell

September 27th, 2012
5:51 am

Teach them to go online and look. Show them how to double check the assignments from teacher blog to their agenda. We check daily, grades & blogs. Teachers do not post grades daily, so sometimrs there is no change. Sometimes she knows her grade before the assignment is handed back.

One teacher had not posted grades for 3 weeks. We emailed the teacher asking when updates would be made. She updated within hours.

You will like grades on line. just find a balance so u dont try to do it for them…in the.meantime i know somebody here did not get her work done so i am waking her up early.

A

September 27th, 2012
7:02 am

Fulton has the Home Access Network to check on your child’s progress. I’ve logged in exactly once since school started on Aug. 13, so clearly not a micromanager. But then we get graded papers home every 2 weeks, so there aren’t any surprises.

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2012
7:14 am

Never ( we did not have it earlier)…not even in college. The only time I have seen my kid’s grades in college, is when the paper shows up for me to fax to the insurance agent for the good grade driving discount and they do not ask for it that often. If I I ask my two… they tell me their grades.

fred

September 27th, 2012
7:17 am

At the high school level, I think that it is more important to have the students themselves aware of what their grades are. I encourage all of my students to check their grades on at least a weekly basis, In the past before my school system had this available, kids would only care about grades the week before the end of a term asking how they could bring grades up, now, they know throughout the year what grades they are earning and what they need to accomplish in order to raise or maintain that level.

cobbmom

September 27th, 2012
7:34 am

My high schooler checks Blackboard daily for grades and assignments. Some of her teachers only put their handouts on blackboard so the students have to print them out. The problem with it is if a teacher posts that a test will be given on a certain date and doesn’t record the grade within a certain time frame students are automatically assigned a zero which wreaks havoc with grade point averages. We don’t have it available at the elementary level in my school district but teachers have blogs and newsletters and many send weekly emails to all the parents.

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2012
7:43 am

I apologize if I missed the question…I thought YOU meant the parents. Yes, my two check their own grades online. They have done it all throughout college. Sorry if I missed that. Have a nice day all!

Rodney

September 27th, 2012
8:05 am

Not only does my sister check the – 2nd grade – nephew’s grades online, but she gave our Mother and me access, too. (our Mother is a retired educator who always pushed us to do well in school, so we’re all up in his business). There’s also an email program that sends results of benchmark reading assignments like which book he read and how he scored on the test for that book.

PS

September 27th, 2012
8:14 am

I think it’s very useful – no big surprises come progress report or report card time, like when I was a kid! I do understand the possibility of micromanaging popping up, though – but, I think you could use it as a tool of gentle encouragement rather than micromanaging. “Hey, I noticed you failed your math test last week/didn’t turn in homework/skipped class, etc. Better work harder before report card time or privileges will be taken away, etc.” The important thing here is to FOLLOW THROUGH.

Tall

September 27th, 2012
8:48 am

I have two boys attending Fulton County Schools. My six year old is in kindergarten so grades are not that important – development is. My older son is a sixth grader at Sandy Springs Middle School. His grades are emailed to my wife and I almost daily. I like it. He will take the easy way out if he can get away with it. This is good way to stay on top of his progress. We can focus on the classes that need attention. The teachers also do a very good job of keeping us posted on assignments, quizzes and tests.

Sk8ing Momma

September 27th, 2012
9:00 am

We homeschool; however, I outsource a couple of classes for my children. Checking grades and homework assignments are available for those classes. I HATE having such access. I am old school — Students need to keep up with and manage their own grades & tests. I’ve been to elementary and high school and managed to complete both successfully. I’m of the BTDT school of thought…I don’t need or want to check their grades. My philosophy is that my kids should “handle it!”

Having access to one’s child’s grades & tests is the epitome of the helicopter parenting that I so loathe. Technology is a good thing in many instances; however, this is one use of technology that I wish didn’t exist.

Sk8ing Momma

September 27th, 2012
9:04 am

Clarification: I am an involved parent (obviously, given that I homeschool). My thought is that parents should provide homework help as needed (NOT manage what is due and when) and check all homework before it is submitted. If this is done regularly, there shouldn’t be a need to check grades on-line.

catlady

September 27th, 2012
9:17 am

The rule at our house was: I WANT to see your good grades; I HAVE to see any bad ones. Mom doesn’t handle surprises well. Always worked around here. I don’t think I would have ever used it. I expect full communication with my children.

Years ago we had an awful 5th grade teacher at our school. The parents were up in arms about not knowing their child was doing poorly. He said, and my daughter brought hers, that he sent the papers home. The parents should have been mad at their kids!

SEE

September 27th, 2012
9:27 am

My two middle school boys check their grades often. They are great about it. I give them $25 for every all “A” progress report they bring home, so they are very motivated. I love the system because they can see how a 75 quiz affects that beautiful A they had. My older son is studying three days ahead of a math test to try to bring an 88 up to an “A”. My younger son is asking the teacher why he missed questions on an assignment if he doesn’t already know why. They have become very pro-active in managing their school work to strive to do the best they possibly can.

Me

September 27th, 2012
9:56 am

We don’t really check the grades online unless there is a specific reason — we do have alerts set up whereby we receive an email any time a grade is less than 90. We also get alerts for any absences, tests missed, etc.

RJ

September 27th, 2012
10:48 am

Yes! Especially with my son! He’s a gifted slacker! My oldest always stayed on top of evertyhing so it wasn’t necessary.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 27th, 2012
11:04 am

Cobbmom — that’s weird on Blackboard that it’s putting in the zeroes. That must be how the county/teacher has it set up. It doesn’t do that for us. I could wait the whole semester to fill in grades and they wouldn’t fill in a zero.

A reader

September 27th, 2012
11:05 am

My tenth grade daughter checks her grades online because often the grade is posted before she gets the assignment back. She checks most every day because she also wants to keep an eye on her grades as she is attempting to get all A’s this semester. I check her grades just about every day also. I do not think that my curiosity about her grades is micro managing. If she does poorly (less than 75%) on an assignment or test I will ask what happened. But she is responsible for her assignments and her grades, not me.

cobbmom

September 27th, 2012
11:25 am

I should clarify, Blackboard has the assignments and notes, Pinnacle is for grade posting and we have access to both.

Really?

September 27th, 2012
11:50 am

Can you say helicopter parenting?

How in the WORLD did our parents keep up with us without all this freaking technology?

I know, report cards!! Progress reports. But to check their grades every day? Damn, some of you really need a life.

Denise

September 27th, 2012
12:14 pm

I don’t see it as necessarily helicopter parenting. I think it can be a tool to HELP parents teach their children responsibility in the early grades. For example, the parent can know the child has something due but not tell the kid until the last minute. If the kid hasn’t already started he/she will have a chance to get it done because the parent has helped them but will suffer the consequences of having to work at the last minute and, potentially, get a bad grade because it is done at the last minute. The parent can show the child how he/she knows about the assignment and teach the child how to use the system. As the year goes on, the parent can remind the kid less and less and the kid will (should) figure out how to use the system him/herself to keep track of assignments and grades. As grades get more important in the higher grades the child will have already gotten used to using the system to keep track of assignments and grades and will do as some of your children are doing – keeping track so as to know how to improve or keep grades up.

Also, I don’t think being curious about how your child is performing in school is a bad thing. Maybe you can get a child help before they get too far behind. Yes, your child can come to you and tell you they need help but how often do kids actually do that before it’s almost too late? I would think that is a parent’s responsibility as much as a child’s, maybe even more. And what kid is going to say “hey, my reading sucks so will you make me read a few extra books so I can improve?” or “hey I’m not getting these times tables. Will you give me 200 problems for me to practice?” I’ve never met one. But a parent who sees a reading or math grade that is bad and not improving may realize that the child needs more practice.

Kat

September 27th, 2012
12:39 pm

There is a thick line between helicoptering parents and those who are curious about their child’s grades. The goal is to find that place and work from there. Be with the average folks and be in the middle of the bell curve.

FCM

September 27th, 2012
12:44 pm

@ Really: How in the WORLD did our parents keep up with us without all this freaking technology?

Notes home, phone calls home, calling the parent in for a conference, ISS, OSS, oh they used all kinds of tools back then too!

The technology is more convient, cheaper for the most part, and I like it better than some teacher calling me or emailing me at home/work.

FCM

September 27th, 2012
12:47 pm

SO on a related note my 13 yo fails to connect that unfinished classwork becomes homework. She has a hard time sitting her butt in the chair and doing the work — unless I stand over her. Do I let her fail school? Do I keep roating the blades (it drives me nuts!)? I WANT her to be responsible but she is failing to step to the plate.

motherjanegoose

September 27th, 2012
1:01 pm

FYI….good grades are commendable! They will often get you into a good college but not always. We heard this time and time again, ” We love good grades but appreciate the other things you bring to the table. If you have a 3.5 GPA and have worked a part time job and/or have lots of volunteer hours…that ( to us) is better than straight A’s.” Check twice with mine. Balancing and organizing is sometimes as important as a GPA, unless you are able to hire things out and that is good too!

FCM

September 27th, 2012
1:09 pm

oh and @ Really? At one point before the whole signing of agendas thing for the whole class….my parents and teachers were doing daily sign-offs in some kind of notebook they set up. Eventually I got it together.

Teacher, Too

September 27th, 2012
2:14 pm

You would not believe the number of parents who cannot be bothered to check their child’s grades. Because I don’t want to get called on the carpet, I still call parents to let them know their child is failing, even though we have on-line grades and printed progress reports.

camille

September 27th, 2012
2:22 pm

No I don’t look at the grades on line. I initially do so about 5 yrs ago.. and I was tired and stressed the first nine weeks……. what happened on that test? I didn’t know you had a test, congrats? If I check your grades on friday you won’t go to the game……… blah blah blah..

I told my daughter.. Here are the rules: A’s & B’s are the only grades acceptable unless there is a problem. When I get the report card, that is what I better see…. no micro managing on my part.

DB

September 27th, 2012
3:44 pm

Never once did I check grades. There was no way I was going step in and take away that learning experience away from my kids. Grades were THEIR responsibility, not mine. The idea of walking behind them and checking the grade for each and every little paper, quiz and test is mind-numbing. That’s THEIR job. Make it their responsibility early on, and there’s a good chance that it won’t be a problem later on.

In the 4th grade, my daughter fibbed about a science project being due. (OK, she flat out LIED!) Said that since the science teacher was out sick for three weeks (true) that the projects had been postponed (not-so-true.) Grades that marking period coincided with teacher conferences. I walked into the conference and the lead teacher said, “You’re not going to like this,” and handed me the grades. Turns out the substitute was fretting over DD’s failure to turn in the project, and wondered if she should call me. The lead teacher said, “No, don’t do that — I know this mom. Give her the grade she deserves.” After the parent teacher conference, DD discovered that lying doesn’t work: Her birthday party was summarily cancelled, she had to do the project ANYWAY, even if the final grade was a zero, AND she had to write a note of apology to both me and her teacher for lying.

Never had that problem again.

Or, as is often noted in our family, “Actions have consequences. Make sure you can live with the consequences before you do the action.”

Something similar happened with DS in the 2nd grade. He hemmed and hawed about doing a book report, and put it off until 8:10 the evening before it was due (after several gentle reminders over the previous two weeks) I told him he had 20 minutes to do the book report, because shower was at 8:30 and bed was at 9. He fell apart: “But I need to do this report!” “Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” “WHAT WILL I TELL THE TEACHER?” “The truth — that you didn’t do it.” “I’ll get a zero!” “Probably.” “It’s YOUR fault!” “Uh, no . . . it’s not MY book report, kiddo.” The teacher was vastly amused at DS’s tear-filled “I couldn’t finish it,” explanation when she called me later. “Well, did you bring in what you could finish?” “No . . . I hadn’t started it.” However, he never missed another deadline, and learned a valuable lesson about time management. A zero on a book report in 2nd grade is a small price to pay for learning that actions have consequences — especially when that zero lowers his grade to the point where he loses TV or other privileges. :-)

It sounds sacriligious, but I think parents put waaay too much emphasis on grades in elementary school — all the hovering and back-checking of grades makes the grades front-and-center, ahead of what they are actually learning. Why take a risk on a project and earn a B if you play it safe and make an A? Why take an AP class and get a B if you’ll get an A in a regular class?

DB

September 27th, 2012
4:05 pm

@See: $25 for EVERY A?!? HOLY CRAP! Lets see — 7 classes x 4 grading period = 28 A’s — that’s $700 a year for them if they make straight A’s to do what they are supposed to do in the first place?!!

Wayne

September 27th, 2012
4:36 pm

@DB: Oh, man, I so can relate to your daughter lying! My 4th grade son came home from school yesterday with a warning note. Second one this year. He didn’t do his English homework and tried to play off that he did it by ‘correcting’ a blank piece of paper on his desk. Yeah, he got caught out. He has to apologize to the teacher (I shoulda had him write it, dang it…), and no DS until I say so. But Dad! Sorry kid, think adults are stupid?

Denise

September 27th, 2012
5:14 pm

@DB – See said $25 for every ALL A progress report, not every A.

DB

September 27th, 2012
7:34 pm

@Denise: Ah – see what one misses when one skims? Thanks!

catlady

September 28th, 2012
6:37 am

“We don’t really check the grades online unless there is a specific reason — we do have alerts set up whereby we receive an email any time a grade is less than 90. We also get alerts for any absences, tests missed, etc.”

So, you don’t check the grades BUT the system will automatically email you all the stuff you would have checked for?

motherjanegoose

September 28th, 2012
10:00 am

Make it their responsibility early on, and there’s a good chance that it won’t be a problem later on.

Amen DB…there are plenty of parents who are still involved with checking their kids grades while they are in college. I have a friend who is looking at internship applications to find one for her son. He is studying abroad this semester and she is investigating the forms that need to be filled out. She has posted this on Facebook. Perhaps I get the BAD MOM award but mine handle these things on their own. I know not all kids do.

Denise

September 28th, 2012
10:29 am

@DB – I thought I missed something…and was wishing See was my parent if I could have gotten $25 per A! I tricked my Daddy into $5/A once in the 3rd grade I think when we had a bunch of grades. You know, Reading comprehension, Reading this, Reading that, Writing…not just one grade per subject. I got about $70 out of him and that was the last time I got paid for grades! LOL

Ronnye

September 28th, 2012
5:37 pm

Never believed in paying for grades…I always told my two children that they were expected to earn good grades…so good job, keep up the great work. I took them on a summer trip (from the islands to the mainland is always a good, as in pricey, trip) every year, so that was their reward for a successful year and to make our purchases for the next year.

Penguinmom

September 28th, 2012
9:05 pm

We use an online system called ‘Haiku LMS’ at our school. I keep up with my children’s grades there and I post my student’s grades for their parents to see. It is a great tool for the parents to be able to keep track of how their student is doing and it, hopefully, keeps the 8-week grade from being a shock.

I love being able to get an immediate feedback from an assignment without having to wait for it to be returned especially since our classes only meet once a week. As a teacher, I like getting that info out as quickly as possible so the student/parents can keep up with how they are doing. If their test grade is really good, it can be an encouragement as they complete their week’s homework. If it is not, it can be an impetus for them to work harder or to ask questions.