Schoolloop Isn’t Required to Keep Students in the Loop

Teachers who prefer alternate grading software should not be required to post on Schoolloop

By Matthew Chan | Editor-in-Chief

At the start of high school, every Irvington student signs up for a Schoolloop account.  Over the next four years, they rely on Schoolloop for everything from grades to assignments to email communication.  It doesn’t come as a surprise that students and parents complain when teachers do not punctually update grades on Schoolloop.  However, as of now, Schoolloop is an imperfect system that often experiences system failures and overcomplicates the process of student-teacher communication.

In school, students should learn about active communication, starting with their teachers.  Schoolloop prevents this necessary interaction because students feel that it is sufficient to passively check grades online at their leisure or email the teacher when a grade isn’t as it should be.  Prior to Schoolloop’s implementation at Irvington and other schools, students gained communication skills by talking directly to their teachers about their concerns.  Organizing time to have an appointment or sacrificing time to talk to teachers are all important skills that carry over to the workplace where inter-human interactions are important.  Employees can’t just expect employers to post their every assignment and keep track of their every action, especially when they have to manage so many people.  Similarly, students need to learn to take charge of their own grades and not rely on a passive form of student-teacher communication such as Schoolloop.

While Schoolloop can be an effective way for teachers to organize their gradebooks, most teachers keep physical gradebooks, especially if they don’t prefer using Schoolloop.  It’s almost always false to say that there is no way to check your grade as a student.  More often than not, simply asking the teacher will solve that problem.  Especially since students are in class with each teacher four days of a week out of seven, finding time to ask this short question is not a time-consuming task that requires appointment.  Using the free time before, after, and in between classes to ask this question helps promote self-sufficiency and less dependency on a third party software .  In fact it is often more convenient to just ask the teacher directly even if they can’t provide a full answer immediately because the teacher can give personalized feedback about how to interpret the grade that would be masked by an objective software such as Schoolloop.

Lastly, we’ve all heard the horror stories about teachers whose Schoolloop grades disappeared.  System failures like these show Schoolloop’s relative unreliability when compared with other forms of gradebooks, including physical ones.  The huge amount of stress and tension created for students, parents, and teachers when these failures occur could easily be avoided by having some sort of physical gradebook, which most teachers have anyways, making any reason for using an unreliable grading software irrelevant.  Last year, Mrs. Cook-Kallio’s AP US History students’ grades disappeared from Schoolloop near the end of the year.  After going in circles with the district support technician for weeks trying to fix the issue, she found no solution and was not able to solve the Schoolloop problem.  This kind of issue would have been avoided by not using Schoolloop in the first place.

In its current state, Schoolloop remains an unreliable form of online gradebook that also decreases the need for students to learn direct communication.  A teacher not using Schoolloop isn’t hiding grades from students.  Students just need to become proactive and find out grades directly by asking, a practice that was common before Schoolloop and other forms of electronic gradebooks became commonly used.