A blank in the gradebook: a dent in the learning

Ashlyn Hoffmann, Staff Writer

One of the greatest benefits of going to school in this generation is the technological advantages at our fingertips. We can check our up-to-date grades whenever we want… Or so we are told. 

Schoology, the grade report platform used by Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), provides students access to see the grade they received on each assignment as soon as it’s graded. This allows students to easily see how each assignment affects their overall grade for the quarter to help them decide if it’s worth talking to the teacher about a potential redo. Up-to-date grades for assignments are crucial for maximum success of students, but rarely are they added in a timely manner, even with the help of Schoology.

Not all students stress about their grades, but for those that do, such as myself, I find myself refreshing my page multiple times a day to hopefully see my score on assignments. To my disappointment, I am sitting there weeks later still staring at a blank line, just wondering when that assignment will be graded. 

Am I sure I turned it in? What if I don’t have enough time for a redo once I get it back? What if I don’t get feedback before the unit test? What if this drops my grade a letter and I won’t realize it until the end of the quarter? All these questions go through my head as I anxiously await my scores.

When I find it especially crucial to know what I got on an assignment, I will go up and talk to my teacher. After all, it was a three question assignment that I turned in two weeks before. More often than not, I am met with the response, “I’ll get to it when I can.”

I understand that teachers have their own lives and other assignments to grade which takes a lot of effort. With that being said, when it gets to the point that the delay in grades limits a student’s opportunity to be their best self and learn from their mistakes, it becomes an issue. 

I notice that the teachers that I most often get this response from, are the teachers that are the most strict about their deadlines for their students – the teachers that do not let any assignments come in late and expect an entire essay the day after it was assigned.

What kind of message does that send to students? That students must follow deadlines but the teachers don’t have to? It’s these kinds of double standards that result in students lacking a relationship with their teachers or feeling as if they are completing a chore, not receiving the gift of learning.

I have tried to find out if teachers have a policy on how long they have to grade assignments, but out of the four teachers I asked, nobody had a clear answer. 

If there were a grading deadline in place, grades would be more up to date, leaving stressed students a little more at ease. This could even positively affect the students who don’t check their grades. If grades were updated regularly, students would be able to recognize the importance of keeping up with them.

If it is not practical for teachers to grade assignments in a timely fashion, such as two weeks, then nor is it for students to complete them. But if students can live up to deadlines, teachers should too.