Well, yes...I'm a parent, and a teacher, and the database administrator for our SIS, which supports parent/student portals. These portals give parents access to a teacher's gradebook entries for their children. As a parent, this seems like a brilliant idea. What better way to keep tabs on my kids and their progress in school?
Yet many teachers are hesitant to adopt such a system. The concern doesn't seem to be over the principle of the thing. Rather, the increased level of accountability and the timeliness required in terms of grading and maintaining a gradebook is fairly daunting.I will be the first to admit that I'm remarkably bad at keeping up on grading. I always have a good sense of where my students stand and can estimate grades pretty well, but in terms of actually sitting down, correcting papers, and entering grades in a rankbook, electronic or otherwise, I stink.
A system like this would force me to do a better job, which is part of the reason I'm piloting the electronic gradebook and parent portal for my students this year, without opening the system up to other parents. Not only will it make me a better teacher, but it will allow me to give first-hand feedback on the system to other teachers.
Some teacher concerns over the system are completely legitimate. We have all had parents that we can envision calling when we fall even a day or two behind. Obviously, parent expectations need to be tempered, too, and we need the support of the administration as we provide parents with a new level of insight. Yet aren't we always clamoring for a greater degree of parent involvement? A balance can exist here; we just need to find it.
I, however, need to go figure out how to use this electronic gradebook before we head back to school in the morning.