Powerschool helps, harms student stress

Teen stress rivals that of adults during the school year, according to data collected from a 2014 Stress in America survey.

“A lot of things stress me out, especially Powerschool,” Justin F. ‘18 said.

While colleges look for the well-rounded individual as the ideal student, the importance of grades has not lessened in the college admission process. This is one of the reasons the district introduced Powerschool, a program which helps parents and students track grades online.

“It is more helpful to have current, updated grades as opposed to waiting to get the report card in the mail,” guidance counselor Meghan Roberts said.

Freshmen Jaclyn H., Grace M. and Simi A. felt Powerschool reduced stress in their lives.

“In elementary school I had anxiety about when I would get a test back,” Assi said.

Simi’s stress waned with the introduction of Powerschool, since it removes her fear of not knowing.

“I check [Powerschool] multiple times a day if I know an assignment is coming in soon,” Simmi said.

Roberts recommends students and parents check Powerschool once or twice a week to monitor progress, and even less for students who know their grades cause them stress. However, many students check Powerschool to lower stress over grades.

“If I’m able to see what I’m doing bad in, then I can help that grade [improve] so I know what to do,” Jenna W. ‘18 said.

The frequency with which students and parents check grades varies from the recommended amount to several times per day. Grace and Jaclyn check it once a day, while Simi on average checks it “once in the morning and once at night.”

Parents who receive Powerschool notifications tend to check it more often.

“[Notifications] come in once or twice a week, at least,” Jaclyn said.

When teachers post new assignments, however, parents see it and confront students more often.

“Whenever they know I have a test, they ask about my grade,” Grace said.

While Grace views the pressure from her parents in a positive light, Justin does not feel the same.

“[My parents are] on my case about it, and it stresses me out more than it should,” Justin said. “When the grade from something that would boost my grade doesn’t come in immediately, they say, ‘hey, you didn’t work on this,’ when I did work on it.”

Roberts recognizes the “occasional confusion” Powerschool creates, but she argues the benefits outweigh the costs—and one bad grade is not going to ruin a student’s future.

“It’s the end of the year grade that is going to hit your transcript. A little dip is not going to hurt you,” Roberts said.

Originally published in 2017 March issue of The Beacon magazine for Olentangy High School

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