Live Grading: Asset or Burden?

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Caroline Leicht, Staff Writer

Greenwich Country Day High School students are pushing for the addition of a live grading system to help them gain a better grasp of their status and progress in classes.

Since the first year of the GCDS High School, the idea of live grading systems has been a huge topic of debate. Unlike many other private and public high schools, our school has not adapted this feature. There are many drawbacks and benefits associated with having a live grading system in schools. Despite most students pushing for this new system, some teachers and administrators are strongly opposed to the concept. In exploring this topic, I was able to interview students from both our school as well as Mamaroneck High School (a local high school that uses a live grading system), and a teacher involved in researching live grading systems. 

Charlotte Patricot, a tenth grade student at Mamaroneck High School shared some insights on the live grading system at her school. Mamaroneck High School uses a student portal on EschoolData as their live grading system. Charlotte is very much in favor of this concept. She said, “Sometimes I think it can be stressful, but I usually like seeing my grades live. I like that it rounds our overall grades and I get to see how I’m doing in the class at all times.” This is very much in line with the opinions of many GCDS high school students. They want this grading system so that they can be aware of their grade statuses at all times and believe it will reduce their stress levels in relation to their classes. Still, Charlotte did see one drawback, saying, “the only thing I don’t like about it is that sometimes teachers forget about student portal and forget to update the grades.” Although this is a potential issue with live grading, it seems that teachers would most likely be able to adjust to this new system. Even with this, students would still always have a better idea of how they are doing in classes. This MHS student clearly believes that the benefits outweigh the flaws of having live grading in schools.

Erin Dixon, a tenth grade student at GCDS, was also able to voice her opinions on this debate among our school. As a tenth grader, Erin is strongly in favor of bringing a live grading system to Greenwich Country Day High School. She said, “I think that live grading would be very beneficial, because, that way, as all the students are trying to juggle every class, we could see what classes we should spend most of our time on.” This opinion is shared among many students. The addition of a live grading system would allow students to view their growth in classes as well as see what they need to improve and focus on. She also said, “One thing that students may struggle with live grading is that they may look every day, and it might cause stress but would still be very beneficial.” Similarly to Charlotte at MHS, Erin saw the potential upsides to live grading to be more relevant than the drawbacks. Despite the possibility of creating stress for some students, many still feel this would improve their class experiences and help them achieve better grades throughout high school.

Dr. Winters was able to share the reasoning behind why we haven’t used a live grading system here in the past. He said, “For one, live grading, from my experience, adds very little to a student’s learning and adds considerably to a student’s level of stress. I know of many, many students who exacerbate anxieties because of the stress of constantly checking their grades.” Despite this being a very valid reason, many students have also said they feel it reduces their stress to be able to check their grades. Depending on the student, live grading may affect their stress and anxiety levels in different ways. Secondly, he shared, “At GCDS, we want to foster a love of learning… We don’t want a school where the only motivation for working hard and learning deeply is for a grade.” This prioritization is clearly very important to this school. Although he did identify some positives, Dr. Winters did not seem in support of introducing a live grading system at Greenwich Country Day Upper School.

Dr. Winters did share that there is still a chance, saying “It is always possible. I prefer a system where students regularly communicate with their teachers about their grades, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they can improve their learning.” Despite the possibility, it seems very unlikely at the moment. Although many students may be disappointed by this, Dr. Winters seems confident that this is the right decision for our high school.