At the beginning of the school year, Granite School District attempted to smoothly transition Skyline and other schools in the district from the old online gradebook system to the newly created Parent Portal Gradebook. The change over did not go as well as planned, and students and teachers continue to express frustration concerning the new program.
Parent Portal is designed to let students and parents view grades, assignments, attendance records, and up-to-date transcripts, and it allows teachers to post assignments and grades for their classes. The school district implemented Parent Portal in the hopes of simplifying the grading process for teachers, students, and parents, as well as streamlining it with the Canvas program to create a more centralized online system.
Students and teachers alike at Skyline view this attempt at simplification as having the exact opposite effect. The new gradebook system is confusing, difficult to use, and contains many bells and whistles that simply aren’t needed.
“It was very difficult to figure out how to get the spreadsheets in which you can list assignments and student scores,” complains Skyline senior Michael Zhao, who works as a teacher’s assistant in one class. He echoes the opinion of frustrated teachers here at Skyline, many of who were especially upset and exacerbated during mid-terms and Parent Teacher Conferences earlier this month.
From a student perspective, senior Sasha Sehgal adds, “It is extremely inefficient. It takes too much time to check your grades, and not a lot of people know how to use it.”
Vincent Fu is another senior at Skyline, and he was so dissatisfied by Parent Portal that he started an online petition to bring back the old gradebook. “While the new GUI looks nice, we do not believe functionality should be sacrificed for aesthetics. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the layout, functions, and usability of the old gradebook system, even if it looked a bit out-of-date by today’s web standards,” argues Fu in the petition.
Word of these issues has reached the district. Tutorials are now being offered online at the Granite School District’s website, and signs were posted all over Skyline at the start of Parent Teacher Conferences advertising assistance with the new program.
Students and teachers at Skyline are hoping that the situation will improve. Numerous students have signed Fu’s petition, while others are simply waiting for the district to rework the program and make it more user-friendly. The majority, however, are just trying to deal with it the best they can and trusting that they will grow accustomed to it eventually.