Hidden Grades

Boden Gentile , Editor-in-Chief

https://sisstudent.fcps.edu, the student portal into the world of grades. A major source of anxiety for students is waiting to see their grade on that one test, that one essay, or that one homework assignment. Time and time again, SIS is the harbinger of quarterly doom or academic satisfaction. School is all about learning, so the only thing worse than learning your true grades is not being able to. 

SIS closes down at the end of every quarter, for reasons that no student understands, preventing students from accessing grades for approximately 10 days. At the time when grades are about to be locked in for the quarter, arguably the most important time to review those fateful letters, it closes down. 

One could argue that the website shuts down to make students temporarily stop stressing about grades. Yet, hiding grades doesn’t eliminate their existence, it just makes it more difficult to make last minute changes.

Very few teachers complete all of their grading before the end of the quarter, as there are designated teacher-workdays, which fall at the end of the quarter, made to finalize grades. And, while teachers try their best, nobody is perfect. If a teacher is 99% accurate with their grading, then at least one or two students under their authority are likely to have a small grading mistake. Having 7 classes, a student is likely to deal with this at least once throughout high school. However, if they can’t see their grades, then they have no way of knowing about the mistake, let alone fix it.

Picture this, Student X does not turn in an assignment early in the second quarter and forgets about it. The teacher waits to grade this assignment, which constitutes 10% of the semester grade, until their final teacher-workday. It goes in as a 10/20 per FCPS’s grading policy, dropping the students grade from a 93 to a 88, A to B+. Because SIS is shut down, Student X is unaware of this change and it goes onto the quarterly report card.

If SIS had been open, Student X would have had the opportunity to address the missing assignment and maybe save their grade. At least they would have had the chance. This becomes a real problem for seniors, as first-semester grades are sent to 90% of colleges in the application process. Being grade-blind is a huge disadvantage in this scenario, as the transcript gets sent before they have the opportunity to fix a teacher’s mistake or make up a newfound missing assignment. 

SIS shutting down for a week and a half at the end of each quarter does nothing to help the mental health and academic wellbeing of students. Keeping the website up benefits students more than shutting it down.