As teachers help students get back into the routine of schoolwork, the pace of assignments due will gradually increase. And with this increase in assignment volume will come an egregious time wasters for teachers: double entry of assignment grades. Teachers typically need to enter grades once in the learning management system (LMS) and again in the student information system (SIS).
Same assignments, same grades, different systems…typed in twice with no way to grade sync in sight.
Why does this matter?
Of course entering grades twice is annoying. But with so many things that waste educators’ time, why focus on this one? There are a few reasons why we at Schoolytics believe this is a problem worth fixing with a grade sync tool.
1. It delays meaningful data
Whether you see it as procrastination or time optimization, the hassle of double entry encourages teachers to enter grades later than they would otherwise. Delayed grading means slower feedback for students and possibly even worse learning outcomes. When grades data is only available at the end of a grading period, staff can't intervene with struggling students quickly. This also means less information available to make decisions on how to best support all students.
2. It prevent parent and caregiver engagement
The double entry problem also means that the grades in the LMS and SIS often don’t match. This lack of grade sync makes it hard for students to understand their progress—much less their parents and caregivers. In fact, this discrepancy can often lead schools to inhibit parents from following their children’s work in the LMS.
“It takes us too much time to manage questions from parents about why Google Classroom looks so different from PowerSchool." according to one middle school principal. "So our policy is to disallow guardian access to Google Classroom.” Ultimately, this restriction is counterproductive. It lowers family insight into students' daily work and discourages guardian engagement more generally.
3. It wastes teachers' valuable time
We can all agree that teachers’ time is precious—arguably even more so given the Herculean work required to address learning gaps from the pandemic. That means that the opportunity cost of wasted time (i.e. what else teachers could do with that time) is important. For example, with a better grade sync tool they could be spending that time on actual instruction, lesson planning, giving meaningful feedback, or building relationships with students.
Our internal research shows that teachers spend a lot of time grading in the afternoons, evenings, and even on weekends. 66% of our teacher users have done significant grading on Saturday or Sunday. That's time that they could instead spend with their own families or on recharging themselves for the demands of the classroom.
4. It frustrates teachers
Double entry contributes to teachers’ feelings of frustration and undermines the joy of teaching. With the current state of low teacher morale, and many considering leaving the profession, small irritations can take on bigger meaning and drive some teachers to question their choice to stay in the classroom.
A software solution to the rescue
Some SIS and LMS platforms already offer teachers a way to sync grades, though it can be expensive for customers to purchase this option. One gap remains between Google Classroom and PowerSchool SIS—one of the most common combinations of LMS and SIS tools used in schools today.
In response to demand from our users and customers, here at Schoolytics we built a grade sync tool that allows teachers to sync grades from Google Classroom into PowerSchool with just a few clicks.
Here’s how it works.
First, teachers match courses between Google Classroom and PowerSchool. If a district uses Clever for Google Classroom rostering, this step can be skipped!
Then, teachers match an assignment in Google Classroom to a corresponding assignment in PowerSchool.
Finally, teachers confirm the individual assignment grades to push to PowerSchool—with an opportunity to hold back any ones they choose.
While there are more features we can add to this grade sync tool in the future (like PowerSchool assignment creation on the fly), we expect this process to save teachers a significant amount of time even in its first iteration. And hopefully it will mitigate some of the negative consequences of double entry discussed above!