Education

Wake parents get instant access to students' grades

Posted December 17, 2009 7:44 a.m. EST
Updated December 17, 2009 7:55 a.m. EST

— In the Wake County Public School System, parents don't have to wait until the end of a semester to see how their children are doing. They can check grades, attendance and discipline records any time on the Student/Parent Access Network, also known as SPAN.

“As long as I put it in, they can see the grade the student has in the class,” said Wakefield High School chemistry teacher Johnathan Waugh.

Teachers enter the score of every test, quiz and homework assignment into an online grade book, and every student and parent can check the password-protected account. The scores are averaged so students know their overall grade in the class.

Sophomore Elizabeth Campbell, who said she earns As and Bs, likes the instant gratification.

“It’s good because then I can know how I need to change how I’m working, because I can tell my grades,” she said.

Teachers say the online system prompts parents to be proactive in their child's education.

“If something wasn’t turned in by a student, parents would have weeks before they know it. Now, they know right away,” Waugh said.

All Wake County public high schools use SPAN and about 75 percent of middle schools do as well. The district is working to make it available to all middle schools.

“There’s a lot of data you can get from it,” Waugh said. “It just kind of gives me an overall (class average). How did they do on that test? How did they do on that quiz? So, it provides instant feedback for me as well.”

Students still get hard copies of report cards, but there's no surprise what's on them.

When a school fully implements SPAN, students and parents can view the following information online: schedules, daily grades, academic progress reports for current classes, report cards and historical grades, attendance records and discipline records, according to school officials.

“Students in grades 8–11 will use SPAN to select courses online for the high school,” said school district spokesman Greg Thomas. “In the summer, rising ninth grade students can view their fall schedule and submit schedule change requests online.”