How the contrast of going back to a traditional system is highlighting what I lost
After relying on SmartScore for five years, I find myself missing it now. With SmartScore, I could accurately describe a student's performance and provide valuable feedback during conversations with parents and students. I could easily identify missing assignments, pinpoint areas where students needed more support, and track how a student's behavior was affecting their learning. I could discuss attendance and its impact on a student's performance. I knew which instructional targets the student still needed to learn. Specific feedback was readily available, and these conversations were meaningful and productive. I felt confident that I could make a difference and hopeful that our conversation, given the accuracy and specificity, could lead to improvement.
However, in my role as principal at a new school this year, I could not implement a new system right away. Unfortunately, our current student information system does not provide the same level of reporting as SmartScore. When parents ask how their child is doing, all I can provide is their letter grades. This does not give me a clear picture of their progress or the factors impacting their performance. I can only guess why a student may have received a particular grade, I cannot tell which assignments are linked to standards, and important details like missing assignments may get lost in the overall average.
It's challenging to describe the difference between these systems without experiencing them firsthand. I often wonder how many other schools are using a similar system, which makes it difficult to provide comprehensive and accurate feedback to parents and students. I am aware I cannot be as an effective administrator without the data I became accustomed to. And I know it has an impact on learning and the level of engagement available to families and students.