By J1 Reporter Chloe Herbert
It was meant to benefit the students. When the Marian administration decided to turn off PowerSchool’s GPA viewing setting several years ago, they wanted to relieve the stress and anxiety surrounding grades. With that setting on, grade point averages were recalculated after any addition or change was made to PowerSchool.
“Often we forget that there’s more to education than just GPA. It’s about learning, it’s about experience . . .”
“It could change literally every day. What we found was that girls were living and dying by that number,” Mrs. Jennifer Christen, Assistant Principal said. “The stress factor of watching that number go up or down a tenth of a point was unhealthy.”
She explained how confusing it was for girls who were in the midst of their college application process. “On college applications, when self-reporting was happening, they were reporting that number. It often could be a lot higher than what their cumulative GPA actually was.” PowerSchool wasn’t giving students their “official” GPA, which is calculated at the end of each semester. Instead, it told them what their grade point average happened to be that day.
“When I turned it [the setting] off, within five minutes I had girls outside my door saying that there was something wrong with their GPA” Mrs. Jane Campbell, Technology Specialist said. “I run the GPA calculation at the end of each semester. It’s a long calculation that takes a lot of different things into account, like if it’s an AP class.”
Today, students find the absence of GPA on PowerSchool bittersweet.
“I think there should be an easy way for us to find our GPA without having to calculate it ourselves.”
“I don’t like [the absence of GPA], although it does make me feel less stressed during the year. When finals come around, I want to know what my GPA is before and after,” sophomore Anna Ulferts said. “I think there should be an easy way for us to find our GPA without having to calculate it ourselves.”
Students Services is available for GPA assistance and calculations during the school day, however it is not directly accessible electronically on PowerSchool accounts.
“Often we forget that there’s more to education than just GPA. It’s about learning, it’s about experience and I think taking it off was beneficial,” Christen said. “I think that grades are perceived here as the be all, end all … in Student Services, our philosophy is to do the best you can do. If the best you can do by studying and working your butt off is a C, then you need to be happy with that and celebrate it,” she said.