Home > Uncategorized > Red Clay parents: time to start checking your child’s grades

Red Clay parents: time to start checking your child’s grades

September 10, 2012

Red Clay teachers are required to publish all test and assignment grades in Home Access Center within five days of the due date (ten days for bigger assignments). So as of today, all assignments due during the first week of school are required to be graded and viewable in HAC. (Note: HAC is used for Grades 4-12 in Red Clay; YMMV in other districts).

It’s great if your teachers have their own website or other means of communication, but HAC is where the rubber meets the road for parent engagement with schoolwork. HAC will show you due dates, grades, point weighting, all previous grades and assignments, and your child’s running grade average. It’s a great way to find out what your child is doing in class. Waiting for Interim Performance Reports or conferences is too little, too late.

To log into Delaware’s HAC system, click here. You can also check out the Parent Powered HAC Help (under construction), and contribute some questions to the HAC FAQ.

Parents should really log into HAC and check grades at least once per week (if not daily). If your child is having trouble with classwork, you can get involved and help them out before the high-point-value grades for unit tests or projects start rolling in. A properly updated HAC can empower parents to help turn a failing student into a passing student, or a B student into an A student.

You don’t want to find out the night before the test that your child has been struggling with those pre-test lessons. By the time most teachers tell you there is a problem, it is too late (unless they choose to keep up with HAC). All the metrics are looking at DCAS scores and marking period grades, not daily work. Interim progress reports are far too little and too late for effective intervention.

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Red Clay teachers are unfortunately not required to publish assignments and tests in HAC before they are due. They are, however, required to publish the graded assignments 5 days after they are due (10 days for bigger assignments). Here’s the memo requiring them to publish the assignments. You can print it out or send them the link. Tell ’em I sent you. Many teachers are honestly not aware of it, so be gentle with them 🙂

To log into HAC, click here. The HAC login link is always available at the top of this blog, right under the menu bar. Your new password should have come in a mailer a week or two before school started (at least that’s how it works in Red Clay). If you can’t access HAC, call your school office. If you’re not from Red Clay, find out what your district’s requirements are for teachers publishing assignments and grades in HAC.

How to follow up

Here’s what a HAC Classroom report looks like early in the marking period (below). It’s amazing how much detail can be gathered from HAC. It really is a window into the classroom. Sorry for the fuzzy quality; I’m working on a way to show it in higher quality.

First of all, kudos to the teachers who beat the 5-day rule for entering grades. That is very helpful.

Also note that no teacher has entered upcoming assignments for this week.

You’ll notice that some teachers haven’t entered any grades yet. It’s very likely they didn’t have any gradeable assignments the first week… or did they? That bears some follow-up.

You’ll also notice several grades that need follow-up. One grade was a math test with a grade of 83%. I know my son can do better than that. So now I know to follow up this week, get my hands on the graded test, and figure out what went wrong. There will be some evening practice and do-overs on those missed questions in my son’s future. Was he making those same mistakes on his homework or classwork? I don’t know – there aren’t any homework or classwork assignments entered (although I did manage to check most of the homework and it was fine).

A science lab was marked at 45%, when he usually scores an A. I already did follow up on that. My son reports that most of the class didn’t notice there were also questions on the back of the paper, and didn’t finish the lab. Word spread in the last few minutes that there were questions on the back, and the students frantically began to finish them. According to the teacher, “more than half the class” didn’t do the problems on the back. I asked the teacher about this, and he dismissed the idea that they didn’t know. He insisted that the students knew about the questions and chose not to do them. I remain skeptical – it sounds like a communication problem to me.

Notice that the first three Spanish assigment were marked 0% – but they were assigned a code of EXC (excused), which means the 0% grades don’t count. That’s because the assignments were missed through no fault of the student. The school had apparently double-booked him into Spanish and another class at the same time, and corrected its mistake after the first week.

The running grade averages can be disturbingly low early in the marking period. Don’t worry – they will probably even out to your child’s normal level by the midpoint, as soon as more daily grades are entered. Watch out for hidden assignments though. Teacher are required to make all assignments visible, but sometimes they leave them hidden (usually accidentally). That can mess up the rolling average.

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  1. Mike
    September 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    If there is a requirement for publishing grades within a certain amount of time in the Brandywine School District, several of the teachers would be failing as well.

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