Are Students Addicted to their Grades?

The question of how to get students less attached to their grade is becoming more popular as changes within PowerSchool are being implemented.

Photo By Stef Wojcik

The question of how to get students less attached to their grade is becoming more popular as changes within PowerSchool are being implemented.

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PowerSchool is designed to be a resource for the district to access grades, fees, schedules, and attendance; however, parents and students have become solely obsessed with grades and GPAs.

According to statistics, 485 student sign-ins average per day on the mobile app. Most students check their grades over twice a day which means that a certain population of students make up a large portion of this number.

The Systems and Data Coordinator, Stefanie Durham, controls the workings of PowerSchool. She feels that although grades will always be a worry for students, notifications make stress levels much higher.

“[Notifications] have been a frequent complaint by teachers and administration, and I do agree that push notifications were adding stress to students,” Durham said. “Not all students opted to receive grade change notifications, but students are getting notifications during class and it is definitely distracting,” Durham added.

A history and psychology teacher at AHS, Whitney Thurston, and is affected by the notification system during class.

“It seems to me that students are constantly checking their grades and are notified when a grade is put into PowerSchool,”  Thurston said.

Thurston understands both the positive and negative impacts of PowerSchool. Thurston sees the grading system as a motivator for many students; however, also feels it is becoming more of a preoccupation.

“I think a lot of students focus and obsess on getting A’s. I think we really try to help our students find meaning in their learning and try to inspire so that students become more intrinsically motivated,” Thurston said.

Adelaide Walson, a junior at AHS, checks PowerSchool over two times a day however feels her regular sign-ins are unacceptable.

“I feel that the entire school is starting to prioritize students’ grades instead of prioritizing the learning process and applying knowledge from the classroom,” Walson said.

Colt Whitley, a senior at AHS, also checks his grades a couple times a day. He too feels an obsession is spreading throughout the school.

“I don’t feel that I am “hooked” [on checking grades] but other people certainly are,” Whitley said.

Walson and Whitley are both IB students and agree there is an obsession about PowerSchool, however, Sean Connelly, a sophomore at AHS, feels less akin to the PowerSchool “addiction.”

“I check PowerSchool once or twice a week and I think it’s normal the number of times I check PowerSchool,” Connelly said.

Many students believe that learning is the most important aspect of school, however, the grading system can induce unnecessary stress and also become a distraction, especially during finals week.

“Once the focus becomes about the learning process rather than about a numerical score we are able to get past the superficiality of learning. When students focus on their processes and refining their skills the grade ends up reflecting that process positively,” Thurston said.

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