Student GPAs Disabled

After student GPAs were blocked on Powerschool this past week, students have been in a divide. Some said the number helped to motivate them, while others said they were glad to be rid of the stress that goes along with a number to determine their school performance. 

According to Mount Greylock principal Mary MacDonald, the GPAs were an inaccurate representation of students’ performance. The grades were not properly weighted, therefore relaying incorrect information to both students and teachers. 

“During the most recent School Council meeting, a parent-teacher group brought up Powerschool,” MacDonald said. “Teachers thought PowerSchool was a useful tool, but it was hard for students to understand weighting and mechanics related to GPAs. Some teachers do points, some do percentages, and it leads to an inaccurate number,” said MacDonald. 

MacDonald said she takes feedback from students, teachers, parents, and others seriously. “Communicating with students clearly and consistently is important to me and to Mount Greylock as a school. We want to make sure that what we share with students is not misleading,” she said. 

The school tried to make Powerschool function so that students could see their GPA if they specifically wanted to, and others could turn off the feature. However, the idea was not able to be executed due to an inability for the feature to cooperate with the platform. 

“Not having a GPA is nice. I hated seeing it drop after I had a bad test or something,” one student mentioned. To some students, the number reduced their academic performance down to a number instead of how much they were actually learning. 

Other students argued that having a moving average motivated them to work harder in order to make their GPA go up. A student noted that for upperclassmen in particular, having a GPA helps them to determine which colleges to apply to and the standards they should set for themselves to get into their ideal school. 

At the end of each semester, an accurately weighted cumulative GPA may still be provided by the guidance department. 

MacDonald said that the goal for students should not be to focus on a certain ever-changing number. Instead, students should examine the topic areas that they might be struggling with. 

“We still have access to PowerSchool,” she said. “It’s important to see assignments, but what’s more important is where the shortcomings are. Basically, what do you know or not know. Looking at an overall number is just not valuable for academic growth,” she said. 

In other words, if students are consistently doing their homework and other class assignments, but are not performing well on tests, instead of looking at the grade as a whole, it would be more beneficial for the student to focus on the testing aspect of the grade in particular, according to MacDonald.