The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Open Gradebook: The Pros and Cons

Physical representation of an open grade book (Courtesy of Open Source Way)
Physical representation of an open grade book (Courtesy of Open Source Way)

For the past few years, students and faculty have debated whether WIS should implement an open gradebook. The International Student Union (ISU) has discussed adding an open gradebook with the administration. 

An open gradebook could be anything from students having complete access to their grades all the time, to parents seeing students’ grades for every assignment. But despite this range of formats, the core of an open gradebook stays the same. It aims to increase transparency within grading and limit report card surprises. 

However, not all students agree with the proposed addition, and it is important to consider the arguments both for and against implementing an open gradebook. 

Last year’s ISU co-presidents, Torin O’Brien and senior Jakobi Haskell , pushed the administration to adapt the grading system to the needs of students. Seniors Riley Contee and Patrick Anders, ISU’s current co-presidents, are working towards the same goal. “ISU wants to know the best way we can make grades more transparent [and] more visible to the students,” Anders said. 

Story continues below advertisement

An problem that ISU is looking to fix with a new grading system is teachers returning assignments too slowly. 

Contee outlines a potential system in which teachers have a deadline for returning grades. “Teachers would have a certain amount of time to grade their assignments, based on how much they’re worth in the gradebook, and then the students would know when the estimated date for the grading would be done,” Contee said. 

“I can’t speak for the teachers, but I think it would help them organize their time more. I know some teachers struggle with having to balance grading and their actual lives,” she explains.

However, implementing an open gradebook does not necessarily mean that students will have access to their grades at all times. There are other options, such as scheduled times when the gradebook is open or more regular progress reports. 

Anders acknowledges that there are potential negative aspects to students having more access to their grades. “[There are] some parts of teaching that can’t be reflected in an open book, like participation grades. How are you going to put that in [a gradebook] with that constantly changing with every class,” he said. 

Additionally, with a completely open gradebook comes the pressure of parents having access to every graded assignment. “Would [students] want their parents to be able to look at what they get on small formative assignments every time they turn them in? Probably not,” Anders said.

These negative aspects concern other students as well. “[Having an open gradebook] will make me more stressed about school and I don’t think it would be good for the mental health of students if they are always anxious about their grades,” sophomore Juan Peltier said. 

Senior Iris Cooper agrees with Peltier. “WIS is the most grade based school I have ever been to and students are more focused on grades than understanding,” Cooper said. Additionally, she believes that if WIS implements an open gradebook, students will compare their grades more and this change will be “detrimental to stress levels in the long run.”

However, Cooper does acknowledge that are potential benefits to having an open gradebook.

These conflicting opinions on adding an open gradebook are not limited to the student body. Anders explains that WIS teachers have contrasting views on the matter. From the discussions that ISU has had with the administration, it is clear that “some teachers are for [an open gradebook] and others are quite against it.”

This year, the administration has made a compromise between ISU’s push for more transparent grading and students’ and teachers’ concerns. The administration  added a mid-mid semester report card to “increase communication regarding grades,” Sarah Polland, Upper School Principal, wrote in a school-wide email. 

The mid-mid semester report cards will be published for the first semester in December and then in the following semester, in May. More details on this new report card have yet to be announced. 

“We think that the closest we’ll get to having some form of an open gradebook [this year] is the mid-mid semester report card,” Contee said. 

By Abigail Bown

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *