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The New Transition

Amir Mehraban, Staff Writer

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At University High, most of the teachers, students, and parents have adapted to using Jupiter Grades as a part of their daily routine. You check your grades, you see the percentages of each assignment, and teachers can mass communicate with everyone. Seems pretty simple right? Sadly, our school has ceased to fund Jupiter Grades because LAUSD mandated all schools to use Schoology (the program they bought for $6.4 million dollars).

While Schoology claims to be the “latest innovative technology for a grading platform”, Jupiter Grades was significantly better in all aspects. Schoology has a thousand words if one were to express it angrily. Vapid, dull, insipid, bland, you name it. For instance, when a student logs in, they are faced with a home screen scattered with supernumerary sub-tabs and options that a brain cannot correlate all at once. The “recent activity” section does not make a grading platform better. What is this, a social media site? Anyone could relate Schoology to Facebook with its “posts” and “like” option. A grading platform should be simple and basic, excluding any and all unnecessary things. There is no need for these redundant and obnoxious features such as “Resources” and “Overdue”. Also, logging off Schoology is an unavoidable annoyance. Sometimes, students are not aware that they have to log out “twice” by selecting two options, which may leave their account open at risk. Looking at Jupiter Grades, it is the most austere system you could ever ask for.

However, it is unreasonable to put Jupiter Grades over all the systems. As Schoology is a new system, it still has its advantages. For instance, teachers can create groups on Schoology, which allows students and teachers communicate back and forth in regards to assignments and work. Also, it features an option for “discussions,” where students and teachers can post pictures and comments, modeling a social media platform. Students can also view their upcoming due assignments by viewing a calendar, which their teachers can post for a certain due date. The gradebook is linked to MISIS, which makes grading easier for teachers. Jupiter Grades was indeed weak in those subjects, however its simplicity is preferred over Schoology’s additional features.

During the first week of school, teachers attempted to discover the core of Schoology. Astoundingly, the teachers were confused on how to set up their classroom material and assignments that needed to be online. Their “one day of training” was not sufficient enough for a full understanding, not to mention that the theme of the platform is quite bland with a somewhat “Facebook-ish” interface. It may be just an ordinary grading platform, but certainly one would agree for it to be more appealing. As the weeks flew by, the students were informed by their teachers about Schoology and the transition. An outbreak of confusion spread around school among all the students, raising questions to the staff. The registration for Schoology requires a student to self-register using a specific PIN and email given by their teacher. In many cases, students were not able to self-register, so they would ask their teacher for help, but teachers did not understand the system as well! That is sincerely a problem, especially if the teacher cannot help their own student. Why? The district did not give the right amount of training and instruction for Schoology, which leaves the teachers puzzled, the students angry, and it continues into a perpetual chain reaction of events. Perhaps the district would prepare itself rather than causing this mess for the future. Exceptional work requires intelligent and strategic thinking, which was ignored in this case. This should have been carried out using the Scientific Method, consisting of a hypothesis, theory, and so forth. “If Schoology is to repeal and replace all grading systems, then [blank] Had this been carried out correctly, the students and faculty of Uni would feel a thousand times better. The de facto of Schoology is imminent to future damage not only for the future of a student, but for the innocent teachers who struggle to comprehend the system.

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The student news site of University High in Los Angeles, California