The power of Powerschool: Why timely grade updates are important


Anna Katherine Watts, Staff Writer

As the semester drew to a close, students were constantly checking on their grades but some had no idea how their final grade would look until the last minute. This problem resulted from teachers who put off entering their students’ assignments into the online gradebook known as PowerSchool.

Most students use PowerSchool as their resource to keep up with their grades in each class. PowerSchool is an information system used by Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools that allows teachers to manage students’ grades in their class by entering in assignments and tests as they grade them. PowerSchool can be accessed through the computer and is also available as an app on smart phones, which is how most students use it. 

This is a helpful tool for students to use to keep up with their grades in all of their classes and some parents rely on it as well. When grades are entered in a timely fashion, it allows students to make up missed assignments and talk to teachers about questions that they have about their grades. 

But sometimes, teachers get behind or wait until the last minute to put in grades and this leads to stress for students. Reynolds ivics teacher Troy Colvard explained that grading projects and papers takes a long time for teachers. 

“I have to purposely carve out time to grade bigger assignments,” Colvard said.

In addition, teachers must balance the time it takes to grade students’ work and to enter those grades with other pats of their job. 

“During the year, I advise SGA, and I’m the head coach for the Academic Team which takes up any extra time I have.” Colvard said. “I often grade on the weekends, but I think it’s important to find a healthy work-life balance.” 

Many students find this situation contradictory because they are required to turn in assignments on time but they do not always receive timely feedback on those assignments. This frustration builds in the final weeks of the quarter or semester.       

Sophomore Simon Fagade has complained many times about a teachers who waits till the end of the quarter to update grades.

“One of my teachers puts in assignments super late and it makes it so you have no idea where you stand in the class,” Fagade said. Lack of information gives students no opportunity to resolve any issues that may exist unbeknownst to them. 

“When the teacher does eventually get around to it, your grades have the potential to not be what you are expecting and it’s too late to really fix it because the semester or quarter is coming to an end,” Fagade said.

From the teachers’ perspective, the demands of the end of the semester put pressure on them too.  

“I think all teachers struggle at certain times of the year,” Colvard said

While this feeling of being overwhelmed and overworked is shared by both teachers and students, it is completely unfair for students to not have an accurate idea of their standing in their classes. The result is increased anxiety and stress for students. PowerSchool was created to keep students informed and on track, but without good information, it is counterproductive.