I recently had my students spend the first ten minutes of class playing a review game on Quizlet. While they were doing this, I used the time to input grades from a writing assessment I had just finished marking that morning. The goal was to go over my feedback on their work during the next segment of class that day.
Within 60 seconds of inputting the grades into PowerSchool, I had students asking me, “Hey, Mr. Stuart, are we able to rewrite this?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “We haven't even gone over them yet.”
“Yeah, I know, but I just saw on PowerSchool that my grade went down.”
This isn't a post about when to put the grade in on a writing assignment or how to deal with grades. It's a post about enabling technology for our students that sends them a notification every time something happens to their grades.
Grade improved? Bzzzz. New grade entered? Bzzzz. Grade went down? Bzzzz.
To me, this is dystopian.
What would it look like to devise a system that trained students to obsess over every fluctuation of their grade? Imagine I asked you to give me something that calls to mind Pavlov's dinner bell — give me a system like that.
Or do this for me: develop a technology sure to immunize my students against silly messages like “The reward of learning is learning” or “Schools exist to promote the long-term flourishing of young people.”
Could you come up with a technology like that?
Sure you could. All you would need is youngsters walking around with notification-enabled smartphones and notification-enabled PowerSchool apps, dinging and buzzing every time there was any change to any grade.
That would do it.