Limit how often you look at PowerSchool

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I was having a relaxing weekend until  I checked Powerschool on Sunday and saw that one of my grades went down. All of a sudden, my weekend wasn’t so enjoyable. 

Like many other schools, CESJDS uses PowerSchool, a grading website that shows students their grades for specific assignments, missing assignments, attendance, schedules and more. 

PowerSchool is very helpful in many ways. I have more motivation to change my grade when I check and see that it’s lower than I would like. However, I often find myself checking my grades and fixating on them multiple times a day.

Powerschool is based on points and percent changes, which ultimately come together for your final grade. Personally, grades on Powerschool feel like they are impossible to raise; even when you do well on assignments, the grade barely raises, but when you do poorly on an assignment, it drops dramatically. 

An American College Health Association Assessment found that 85.6 percent of students felt overwhelmed in the past year due to the pressures of getting good grades, balancing extracurricular activities with studying and spending time with family.  

I am so obsessed with getting a good grade that my “motivation” is now to raise my grade instead of actually understanding assignments and learning from them. When the goal is to get good grades, we are maximizing grades while minimizing effort, whereas when the goal is to learn, we are maximizing learning while optimizing effort. This seems to be the opposite of what educators want us to experience. 

We all have access to Powerschool, and it is our decision on how often we check it. At Glenbrook North High School in Illinois, there were 3,001 average sign-ins to Powerschool per day during the last week of the first quarter this past school year. There are only about 2,000 students attending the school, meaning that many students signed in multiple times a day. 

I suggest picking a few days a week to check your grades on Powerschool. Thursday night is a good time to check, so you have time to talk to your teachers if you have questions on Friday. You could then use Sunday morning to do extra work if you need to, but leave your Sunday afternoon and evening free to end the weekend on a good note. 

Staring at the grade that you wish was different won’t change it, but hard work and effort will. 

Next Sunday, if I check my Powerschool and see a grade that I’m upset with, I’ll remember that it can always change with hard work.