Genesis’ gradebook during school hours: to close or not to close

The gradebook tab on a student’s Genesis account, as pictured above.

The gradebook tab on a student’s Genesis account, as pictured above.

On Tuesday September 24, Pascack Hills principal Glenn deMarrais sent out a letter to students and parents about a new trial initiative to take place, regarding the gradebook on Genesis. The purpose of the letter explained that from October 1 until Thanksgiving, the gradebook will be closed during school hours, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Obviously, this concept is very controversial to the students of Pascack Hills.

In the letter, deMarrais explains that the trial period is being implemented, “In an attempt to find a balance of awareness of progress, undistracted learning, and student wellness.”

After data was collected by the principals of both Hills and Valley, the letter explained that research indicated 41 percent of underclassman logged into Genesis more than 400 times between September to June. Also, it was recorded that a number of students logged into Genesis well over a thousand times in that same time span. Furthermore, by checking time stamps, it was discovered that most of the logins occurred during school hours. This data was rather alarming, which is why the gradebook has become a problem that needs a solution.

Originally, the gradebook was just supposed to be used as an easy, quick way for students and parents to be informed about academic performance in classes. However, using these shocking numbers, it can be concluded that the gradebook has turned into an immensely problematic distraction.

“I don’t like this idea,” said Pascack Hills junior Alexa Tarabocchia. “If I know a teacher put in a grade and I can’t check what it is, I feel like it’ll give me anxiety.”

While some students may not agree with this possibly permanent (after the trial period) change, it is clear that students’ obsession with the gradebook is concerning. However, there is a better solution to this issue out there somewhere, as closing the gradebook during school hours can make students even more anxious and stressed than ever.

Also, checking a grade for the first time upon turning over the assignment will probably come as an unfamiliar, uncomfortable feeling. Being able to privately check the gradebook during class comes with less tension and stress than being in a room filled with people on edge about checking a grade. Furthermore, flipping over a test and seeing an unflattering grade can come as a horrible surprise; having to pretend like everything’s normal when seeing a peer’s initial reaction to their high test grade can make a student feel uneasy.

Therefore, closing the gradebook during school hours is not the correct answer. It will most likely not lead to a lower concern over grades, and will probably only further negatively impact mental health. Nevertheless, this trial period will be difficult for most students, as they must learn to accept it.

“I feel like you should be able to check your grades during the day,” said Pascack Hills junior Tiffany Georges. “Even if it’s a distraction for some people, privileges should not be taken away from everyone.”