As grades expand online, 'students want to improve'
Instant feedback means more students are taking ownership of their work
The days of students trying to make F's look like A's before their parents can see their report cards are long gone in Delaware City Schools.
Students in grades 5-12 and their parents have had access to students' grades online for years. This year, however, is the first year that fourth-grade students are using an online grade system.
Heidi Kegley, principal at Willis Intermediate School, said she is excited that next year's incoming fifth-grade students and their parents already will be used to the online system.
Teachers update students' grades on a weekly basis, at least, and sometimes on a daily basis. Kegley said some parents even know their child's test scores before the child arrives home.
Kegley said having the ability to see grades almost immediately provides a good line of communication between students, teachers, parents and administrators.
"Having grades online increases the communication between parents and students and also provides the ability for instant feedback from teachers," she said.
Kegley said paper report cards still are sent home every nine weeks. Some parents don't have Internet access at home, but students are sent home with an agenda book daily that has homework assignments, scores and notes from teachers.
In addition to being able to view individual assignment and test scores, there also is other information available online.
The teacher is able to put comments about an individual student's assignment or test score. For example, the teacher may put a note that a student is able to make corrections to an assignment for additional points.
The online system also shows which assignments were missing or late. In addition, attendance records are kept online. If a child is absent or tardy to class, it will show up online.
Kegley said the information not only is good for parents to see their students' grades quickly, but for students who want to see how they are doing and be able to make changes quickly.
"Students are more aware of what they need to be working on," Kegley said. "Students want to improve. They know that we're expecting them to do their best and they want to do that."
She said because all of the major parties are aware of a student's grades, the students are beginning to take more ownership of their work.
"They recognize that there are things they can do in order to improve their grade and be the best they can be," Kegley said. "We want to help them improve and they respond to us."