The New Powerschool System – What Are My Grades?

Article by: Julie Kang

“How am I supposed to know what my math grade is right now?” is the typical reaction of many ISM students. The temporary absence of Powerschool has brought anxiety and inconvenience across the student body, as students are no longer able to check their grades or their assignments that lie ahead.

Mr. Collett, a High School Teacher in charge of updating Powerschool, claims that the new system is more rewarding than the old one. He highlights that the new Powerschool will enhance and improve the student’s learning environment. Once Powerschool opens, students will be able to see that their assignments for the whole year are already subscribed to the calendar, allowing students to prepare for upcoming assessments in advance.

Since the old Powerschool system has been used by the ISM community for a long time, some were surprised that the system was undergoing renovation. However, the reason for this change is to enable the Powerschool system to reflect the new grading system at ISM. Mr. Collett explains that ISM will be using a new assessment strategy that can demonstrate the students’ mastery of skill or concepts. The grades on the new system will be split into two sections: achievement and learning habits. Achievement grades will be based on three criteria: knowledge and understanding, transfer of learning, and communication of learning. In addition to achievement grades, students will also be receiving feedback on their learning habits in areas of organization, engagement, and collaboration.

Prior to the new Powerschool system, grades only reflected an overall performance in a particular subject, which made it difficult for students to know which areas they need to focus or improve on. However, with the introduction of the new Powerschool system, students will be able to receive a detailed explanation or an indication of their current level of performance in the subject. Each assessment will provide a brief comment on the student’s capability to understand the concept, and suggestions and guidelines that may help students achieve higher scores on their next assessments.  At a first glance, some students may not feel the necessity or the importance of receiving a separate learning habit grade. However, this can be beneficial, as it encourages colleges to judge the the overall potential students have, moving away from accepting students only based on assessment scores.

The challenges of getting used to the new system may be difficult and at times confusing. Nevertheless, the new Powerschool system is a small stepping-stone to a brighter change in students’ learning.