Report Cards: Still Relevant? Or A Thing of The Past?


Before the rise of PowerSchools, parents would often have no idea what their child’s grades looked like until report cards arrived. Report cards are what they used to check up on their children, and ensure that their academic careers were on track. Now, with PowerSchools, parents can monitor their students grades throughout the year, and even see grades for individual assignments as soon as the teacher puts them in. This has sparked a debate among students: do we even need report cards anymore? The argument has been made that they are a waste of resources, and it’s possible that the report cards may not even make it back to the parents, so the school systems should switch to only sending grades through PowerSchools, but I believe this opinion to be false.

Our parents grew up going to school without PowerSchools, knowing it to be the only way to stay updated on grades. Many parents are unaware of how to navigate PowerSchools, and some ignore it altogether. While there are some parents who obsessively check their child’s grades on the app, there are many parents who don’t even know their login. These are the parents to keep in mind before taking such drastic measures. Parents that are so accustomed to receiving report cards that without them, would have absolutely no sense of how their child is performing at school.

To a student, this may sound great, but with no one to hold them accountable, students grades may rapidly plummet. It’s extremely easy to find yourself procrastinating or putting off work in high school. As teenagers, it’s in our nature to not want to do our work, and while it is important to be self driven and influence ourselves to do our own work, sometimes we need a little push from outside forces (like our parents) to hold us accountable.

Having scheduled report cards also helps promote an environment where parents are using grades as a benchmark, rather than hovering over each and every assignment, as PowerSchools can promote them to do. In our school system, it is extremely easy to fall into a grade driven mentality. Students will obsessively check their grades, and always look for what they can do to boost the number, instead of looking at what they can do to further their learning. This environment is bad enough on its own, but when parents get involved, hovering over every single grade a student receives, it just further promotes this toxic way of thinking and perspective on learning. 

In our school system, and in life, it isn’t realistic to expect a student to perform perfectly on every single assignment. Struggling is a part of the learning curve, and poor performance on work here and there is just a part of life. While yes, grades are important, it is important to keep in mind that a child isn’t a fact spitting robot, and should never be treated as such. Doing poorly on one or two assignments might just push a student to work harder, and further their learning, which is exactly what we want. The mindset that failure is never okay is toxic, and can set up a child for excess stress, and can even be detrimental to their future. Failure is a part of life, and knowing how to accept it, learn from it, and move past it, is an important life skill that many high schoolers are failing to acquire. School systems should not stop printing report cards, because without them, parents may quickly begin to hover too closely over their student’s education, creating a toxic, grade driven environment where they can’t learn to accept failure, and learn from their mistakes.