SIS is failing students


The grade book… ugh, logging on, stressing and overthinking whether or not you did well, seeing the single, big, bolded, letter labeling your performance. These are some of the dreaded feelings that a student can feel when checking in on their grades, the only thing worse: when you can’t check.

StudentVue, is the domain that Fairfax County Public Schools uses for their grade book. The grade book is used by teachers to input each student’s schedules, attendance, and grades for students and parents to view. The grade book portion of SIS is the biggest anxiety-producing tool provided to students. Whether it’s waiting for that big test, that one project, that homework assignment, or that big essay’s grade to come in, the grade book is responsible for the large majority of all the stress students feel they’re under. And making it where you can’t see your grades at the most important time only makes it worse.

SIS’ grade book completely closes for 10 days straight at the end of each of the four quarters, not allowing students or parents to see their grades. Denying students the opportunity to check their grades at the four most crucial moments of the year.

 Most students are against the grade book closing at the end of the quarter because it only increases stress levels when they’re already high, “I don’t like the grade book closing at the end of the quarter because it makes me nervous and anxious about what my grades are,” said Lucas Riedel (9).

The end of the quarter is a scramble for everyone, with students turning in late assignments left and right and thousands of teachers logging onto SIS to update the book hours before it’s due makes it a very crazy time. And during this time a lot changes, leaving many students blindsided by the alterations. Not being able to see leaves some students not knowing what to do, “When SIS is closed during the most important time of the year it frustrates me and puts me in a position where I don’t know what to do, because I can’t see the changes” said Jackson Steider (9).

If students knew about these changes they’d be able to fix them and improve their grades, or at least have the chance. Not allowing these opportunities causes more stress and harm than good, “SIS closing down at the end of the quarter gives students anxiety, especially ones that are willing to make efforts to change their grades, so final changes should be transparent,” said Richard Phan (11).

While FCPS doesn’t allow students to access the grade book at the end of the quarter, Montgomery County does. Montgomery County leaves the grade book open at all times, allowing students to view and turn in assignments countering last minute changes. “I find it helpful that our grade book doesn’t close, I can still see my grades at all times and it helps me prepare for the next quarter,” said Sydney Paez (Churchill 23’). “It doesn’t make sense that FCPS has their policy like that”

Overall there is no benefit in closing the grade book early while there is still a window to turn assignments in, this only hurts students and stresses them out even more, “SIS closing down leaves students in the dark,” said Alexander Obando (11), “It has no benefit on mental health and student well being, it just doesn’t make sense.”