Our older son’s Middle School uses an online website tool called “Power School” that has been a real blessing for us.
What’s so great about it?
It lets us see his grades, from all of his classes, at all hours of the day, 24/7. It takes away that mysterious feeling of unknowing when you are wondering how your kids are doing in school.
It’s mostly great. Unfortunately it doesn’t show any teacher feedback with any of these grades, but overall, it eliminates the kinds of surprises that can give an unknowing mom or dad a small heart attack.
Or so I had thought for the past year and a half.
That naive idealism was shaken to the core last week when we had our first Parent/Teacher conference of 7th grade.
The IDEA of having 24/7 access to your kids’ grades is very powerful. BUT… it’s entirely dependent on your kids’ teachers. If they don’t enter the grades in the first place, you unknowingly get a false picture of your child’s current status which can lead to all sorts of problems. These problems can include but are not limited to, purchasing an expensive video game when you think your child has earned straight As, only to find out that you have been mistaken once the teachers adds in a whole bunch of errant grades in preparation for conferences.
Ahhh… ignorance was bliss.
So take note, Power School Parents… the idea of Power School is sometimes better than the actuality of Power School… and you may not be getting the full picture of your child’s performance.
What our son’s full picture showed, once all the grades were input, was that he had figured out how to “work the system” and had come to the conclusion that he didn’t need to do his french homework. Not even once. Pas un temps.
Here’s what he saw: Our school implemented a new program this year whereby 90% of a student’s grade in each class is derived from his/her tests and quizzes. The school has a very long, convoluted name for this grading process and I apologize for having forgotten it in my flabbergasted state of realizing that my son hadn’t done ONE FRENCH ASSIGNMENT this year.
He (very deftly, I suppose) realized that he can get an A in the class without doing any of the daily assignments if he can get As on all of his tests and quizzes.
As of this writing, he’s got a B+ because he got an A and a B- so far on his exams.
The thing that gets my gall is that it’s actually pretty savvy that he figured this out. And it’s SO WRONG.
Mike and I have really immersed ourselves in the educational process (which is why we have this blog, duh). We’ve been working with the kids on their processes and stressing effort over grades and we’ve all been having amazing results with it.
We’ve been stressing simplifying the process of everything school-related to save more time and effort, and to maximize results.
Well our son simplified his process to the point where he didn’t do his homework. Brilliant or bratty? Definitely a bit of both in my book (but don’t tell him I said so).
Mike and I are on different sides of the fence on this one. I think it’s a pretty big offense and he thinks it’s relatively minor. What do you think? What would you do?
I’d love to hear from you!