OPINION: Parents should place less emphasis on short-term grade-tracking


Shea Dobson

If you’ve ever visited Manual, surely you’ve heard students discussing their grades. Whether they’re complaining about their one B or laughing about their four Us, Manual students have their grades on their minds. But truth be told, many parents are more obsessed with their children’s grades than their children themselves. Thanks to Infinite Campus, parents can now keep track of grades 24/7. Ironically, this actually relieves some of the pressure that comes with tracking one’s own progress, and keeps students from developing the tools they need to succeed in college and beyond.

Some may argue that parents should have constant access to their student’s grades to track progress. But parents don’t really need this information. If a student is failing, the school already sends home a note for his or her parents to sign. Other than that, grades should be the student’s problem. As high schoolers, children should be preparing themselves for college, where they will be solely responsible for their academic performance. Even if parents currently have the tools at their disposal to check grades constantly, doing so is actually to the detriment of long-term performance. Though they may experience some success early on, children of “helicopter parents” often flounder when they are forced to manage their own success for the first time. Encouraging students to check their own grades and then have open discussions about school with their parents can actually build long-term trust and responsibility.

Furthermore, the use of the Infinite Campus technology itself may cause parents to experience unwarranted stress about their children’s performance. In my experience, some teachers don’t update their grades regularly, some teachers use zeros as placeholders and some teachers keep completely different marks in their gradebooks than they have logged in Infinite Campus. Many parents do not understand this. If a parent sees a D on Infinite Campus, he or she will believe, possibly erroneously, that their student is struggling. Parents are typically inclined to believe the authority of a teacher, even if their hard-working, responsible student is confident that their poor grade is just a temporary technicality.

I’m not advocating that Manual should completely restrict parental access to Infinite Campus. I’m also not saying that parents should be apathetic about their student’s grades. Most students at Manual wouldn’t be here without an external push from time to time. All that being said, I still believe that parents should reconsider the attitude they have toward their students’ grades. Even if afforded the ability to, there is no reason for a parent to check Infinite Campus daily. As high school students, we are very close to being responsible for our own performance in college and beyond. It is imperative that we learn to manage our own success, and that we accept the consequences when we fail.