PowerSchool app: the tool that never was (Editorial)


PowerSchool sends popup notifications to students phones, as well as the app showing live updates of grades.

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In the Carlisle Area School District, students and parents are able to monitor grades through a program called PowerSchool. Earlier this decade, the company released a mobile app so that users could monitor their grades instantaneously. While this app is meant to aid families, in recent years, the resource has proved to be a substantial distraction.

The PowerSchool app, just like many social media platforms, provides users with live updates. This application shows students their grades immediately as they are put into the program. The various assignments added by teachers show students an average grade for each class. Contrary to the intention of the app, students often view these grades as if they are final. This reality results in mass confusion for students and parents and a constant headache for teachers.

Freshman Cameron Lyons is new to the district and used a different system at his former school. Lyons explained how he is not a fan of the system his new school uses.

“The PowerSchool app really creates a lot of unneeded stress for me,” said Lyons. “For example, I was absent from school for a day earlier this year, and I had several assignments entered into PowerSchool as zeros even though I had not yet been given the assignment. My average grades all dropped, and I had a bit of a panic attack. Even though my grades would eventually change, the app was still able to deceive me at the moment.”

Teachers, on the other hand, have to deal with a whole different side of the issue. When teachers finish grading an assignment, they enter points directly into PowerSchool, mostly as a form of organization.

CHS French teacher, Cynthia Lathrop, expressed her opinion on the application.

“I see firsthand how much of a stressor PowerSchool can be for students,” Lathrop said. “Immediately after I enter an assignment, I get emails from students asking why they got a certain grade, or why their grade was not put in at all. I then have to explain to them exactly why they earned the grade they receive, or that I simply have not gotten to their assignment yet.”

The PowerSchool app also provides its users with popup notifications, which often are a distraction to students within themselves. A study published by an organization called Localystics showed that app notifications boost user engagement 88%. This means that students are much more likely to check the PowerSchool app, due to the fact that the program automatically enables instant notifications.

The bottom line is, the PowerSchool app can be helpful to students, but obsessing over grades can be nothing more than a hindrance. If students successfully complete their work and study for their tests, worrying about PowerSchool is merely a distraction.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2018-2019 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.