The number of teachers using School Loop has declined over the years. I find this fact quite disappointing, coming from the perspective of a student who has benefited from the website’s convenience. Although School Loop was encouraged by previous administration, there is currently no policy that requires teachers to use the site to document grades and assignments.
The primary purpose of the website is to allow students to access their grades and track their progress in each of their classes. A new, albeit, rather depressing feature of School Loop is the “Grade Trend” graph that shows the highs and lows of a student’s grade over a given period of time. Although interesting, the graphic is not the most important part; by viewing the full progress report, a student can gauge their performance not only in the test overall, but also in the individual categories such as Homework, Participation, etc. This lets them note the areas that require special attention so they can improve their grade.
School Loop also allows students to double check their grades and assignments. No matter how careful a teacher may be, mistakes are bound to occur from time to time. By keeping track of each assignment, any flaws can be easily noticed and fixed. Whereas if grades were handed out every six weeks, students can only view the letter grade and not the individual sores that went into calculating the final grade. I personally dislike unpleasant surprises, so I would rather know my grade beforehand than to be shocked with a lower-than-expected score on my final report card at the end of the semester. School Loop provides a sense of security for both students and teachers alike.
I also find the website to be a source of motivation for my grades. If I am close to a letter grade or bordering on the edge, I tend to push myself and try harder to either raise a grade level or move into the “safe zone.”
The other features of the website are also quite useful. For classes that have daily homework, I find it especially helpful when the assignment is posted on the online calendar. Just in case I forget to write it down and there is nobody to ask because I have procrastinated until 3 in the morning.
For teachers that use PowePoint notes, it would benefit the students to upload the files into the School Loop “Locker.” This way notes can be reviewed before a test, or a student can write down anything they may have missed during class. In math and science classes, the slideshows often have example problems that students do not get time to write down word-for-word in their notes. Usually I only jot down the work that comes in handy with each problem and I end up forgetting the question itself. The examples often come in handy while studying for an upcoming test.
Although some teachers have their own methods of recording grades and tracking student progress (which may prove better and more efficient), ultimately School Loop provides a simple and convenient channel of communication between the teachers and the students.