Gary Paul

Gary Paul, Board Member
A Harvard-trained architect and decorator, Gary has designed beautiful homes in the Chicago area and New York. A former faculty member at Parsons School of Design and New York Institute of Technology, he has been a guest critic at the Altos de Chavon Design School, Harvard, and Yale.

Tracking Grades

New York, November 27, 2007—Many schools across the country have begun using software, such as Edline, SchoolFusion, and SchoolCenter, that allows parents continuous access to their children's grades throughout the semester, rather than only at report-card time. In an informal online poll that took place in July through October, 2007, visitors to TeachersCount.org were asked if they thought this level of parental access is beneficial to student achievement.

A total of 499 respondents, 340 of whom described themselves as educators, participated in the poll.  Overall, 75.2% said that the grade-tracking software is beneficial to student achievement, while 15.4% of respondents said it was not.  An additional 9.4% were unsure.

While a large majority of both educators and non-educators favored the practice of allowing parents continuous online access to grades, a slightly larger proportion of non-educators (81.1%) than educators (72.4%) approved.  Conversely, a larger portion of educators (19.1%) than non-educators (7.5%) disapproved of the practice.

The poll invited respondents to comment, and many of them did. Below is a sampling of comments arranged by response.

“Yes, this level of parental access is beneficial to student achievement.”—75.2%
  • “I have seen students’ homework levels increase because parents were able to check online to see if it was done. When parents have information, they can use it to encourage children to perform.”
  • “With my school's website, I know what is going on weekly instead of only when there is a major problem at report card time and it is too late to correct it.  Involvement is vital to success. Software increases my knowledge without scheduling individual conferences that interfere with the teacher's class time.”
  • “If you truly expect parents to be partners in the education of their children, then the school must provide the parent with valid and timely information concerning student progress.  This is, however, a tremendous amount of work for the teacher to keep up with.”
  • “I teach at a school where Edline is used.  It allows parents to continually monitor progress.  The only drawback is that not all parents have access to the Internet, which is required to use Edline.  Schools must provide alternative methods for parents to monitor their child's progress.”
“No, this level of parental access is not beneficial to student achievement.”—15.4%
  • “This only serves to encourage ‘helicopter’ parents who expect a teacher to be on-call 24 hours a day to meet their needs.”
  • “Students are missing out on important life lessons. At some point students must become responsible for their own grades.”
Unsure—9.4%
  • “Obsessive parents will abuse such access.”