Aeries shutdown should not last so long

February 12, 2009 — by Gautham Ganesan and Ketaki Shriram

It’s the day before finals and an anxious junior logs onto Aeries in hopes of checking his multitude of borderline grades. The student attempts to calculate the scores she needs on his semester exams to see how she should balance her study time for each of her subjects in order to secure grades that she finds acceptable. To her overwhelming dismay, the student discovers that Aeries is, in fact, entirely shut down.

The district has deemed it prudent to shut down Aeries one week before the end of each grading period, a decision that has led students to have numerous headaches and panic attacks, making it a dubious necessity at best. Many students who enter finals with borderline scores are unable to check their grades and determine what score they require on a given final exam. Unfortunately, despite numerous complaints, the administration has been unresponsive to student angst regarding Aeries.

The shutdown of Aeries also affects parents. Although they were originally promised the ability to check their students’ grades whenever needed, most parents are unable to look at grades when they matter most: right before finals.

In addition to the loss of the ability to check their grades before finals, students are also unable to see their actual grade. In some cases, only percentages are shown, and students cannot see their letter grade based on the scaling of that particular class.

The main argument for the shutdown is that teachers make last-minute changes to student grades that they do not want students and parents to see. Teachers do not approve of the possible changed setup, mainly because they dislike the idea of parents and students viewing a veritable play-by-play version of an Aeries gradebook as changes are made. Complaints would no doubt be generated from such a setup, making life far more difficult for them. Even so, recent improvements to Aeries allow students access to the exact date and time when each of their teachers updated their gradebook and conclusively prove most teachers finalize grades at most a day after finals end. This renders the inability of students to view their grades until the week after finals hard to understand.

It would be helpful to students and parents alike if the administration were to shorten the time between when Aeries becomes inaccessible and when grades are posted, though it would be even better if the practice of shutting down the system was abolished all together.

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