It's helpful to know a little bit about grades, grading, what they represent, and how they look in Family Access. This article is designed to help with all of that.
Once you’re into Family Access, click on the gradebook link. On this page you’ll find a list of each of your child’s teachers. Looking to the right of their teachers/classes you’ll find several columns. Here are the ones you’ll want to study for now:
Note: If you don't see all these columns, click the 'display options' just above the first grade you see.
F – Grade for Fall Trimester.
W - Grade for Winter Trimester.
The other P’s represent the other 3 progress reports that will come out during the year. Remember: it’s the Fall, Winter, and Spring grades that when finalized, go into the records.
Now that you understand the columns, what about the grade? At this point in the year you’ll want to click under F. Click the grade, and that class should open up. You should now see a breakdown of what exactly went into the grade you saw on the column. Study each category carefully. You will find that tests, quizzes, and other summative assessments make up the majority of the grade. The other formative scores are indicators of what your child is doing well on, and where they are challenged.
When my own daughter were in school, I looked for patterns. I first checked the tests and quizzes. Did they seem to understand the material? If yes, then I didn’t look much farther. If no, I examined their other areas. Were there zero’s? Why? What did this say about their work habits? How were they doing on the work they DID turn in? Next came the conversations and questions. What could they tell me about the assignments they missed or did poorly on? These were all the questions I put my daughters through for every report card and let me tell you, they learned to be prepared with good answers. Answers I didn't accept included: “I don’t get it,” and “The teacher wouldn’t answer my question,” or “I just don’t test well.” When I heard any of these, we sat down together and drafted an email to that teacher asking for specific answers to each. I promise you, it made a noticeable difference in the questions, as well as the excuses. My daughters loved me, but HATEd that I was a principal!
I’ve shared how I used Family Access in my family in the hopes you can make it work for you too. It’s a wonderful tool that can really support intelligent reflection on the part of your student. It can also prevent any surprises come grade time.