When every day is report card day

Maryland schools test system where teachers post daily grades online and parents can review grades and assignments immediately. A kid's worst nightmare?
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

For some students, a report card every trimester is bad enough, but a report card everyday? A school in Maryland has recently begun a pilot program with an online grade reporting system that allows teachers to post grades daily, making every day report card day.

The (Montgomery Country) Gazette reports that at Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg, teachers record students grades in an online grade book. Through the Online Achievement and Reporting System (or OARS) parents can review the child's grades almost as the are being posted.

"His mom would be on the computer before he got up in the morning to check the poor kid’s grades,” Paul Ajamian said [of his son, a student at Shady Grove]. When the boy got out of bed, his mother would have a list of assignments he needed to complete and teachers he needed to talk to, his father said.

OARS has two software components: Pinnacle allows teachers to post grades online as they record them in their grade books. EdLine allows parents to log on to the system, where they can see their child's grades and find out about lessons and assignments.

''It's a tool for you to stay connected with your student," says Michael J. Doran, principal at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Md. ''Not that you don't believe your kids, but your kids often won't tell you when they're struggling. They won't tell you that there's a D hanging out there somewhere."

There have been some minor glitches with implementing the system, particularly with issues of ''speed and accuracy," Doran said. Of course, impatient parents still have to wait for the teachers to post the grades, which they might not do everyday. But the software does allow parents to avoid a shock with the trimester report card comes in the mail.

In the future, officials are hoping to add online assignments where parents would be able to log in and get answer keys, so they can help their children with homework. That's especially helpful with middle school math. Many parents haven't touched 8th grade algebra since, oh, 8th grade.

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