Infinite Campus hurts students and makes parents too involved with grades

Cliques, private dining, and awkward Friday night dances aside, I’d say middle school had a pretty satisfactory system. Teachers assigned homework; I turned it in, for the most part; a grade would be given; and at specified dates throughout the year, my parents got a mailing with a list of letter grades for each of my courses. The responsibility to perform well in school laid on my shoulders, and in the case that I wasn’t holding up too well, my parents—grade report in hand—could be my backbone. Now it’s my senior year of high school, and the regular school routine shares my schedule with filling out college applications and taking the bus to the ISU campus for university classes. This time next year, I will be in the midst of my first year living independently from the family, school, and community that I have grown up with. Yet, as my future grows closer and closer, the responsibilities that even middle school granted me seem to be in jeopardy. With this year’s new program, Infinite Campus, detailed grades and attendance records can be accessed online not only by students, but by parents as well. Every time I step into class after the bell rings, every point I score on a pop quiz in Government class—this is all available to my parents by simply clicking a few links and typing in a user name. One must admit that the positive aspects of Infinite Campus are beneficial. The new system gives students a quicker and more concrete look into their performance at school. And, as much as some of us high school kids hate to say it, parental involvement in a student’s life is necessary. However, by serving these two needs, Infinite Campus can very easily stunt students’ growth as responsible, independent individuals. With parents watching their kids’ every point add up to a grade, there’s less opportunity for students to gain responsibility for their own actions, academically and otherwise. Every once in a while (some more than others, and to varying degrees), kids will undoubtedly hit a rough spot in their academic career. Having to solve these problems on one’s own by making the necessary changes is a beneficial and rewarding experience. It is also an experience that cannot be recreated when the fixing comes from parental check-ups. Next year, like the majority of my fellow seniors, I will be living without my parents, without a homeroom teacher to remind me to talk to my counselor, and without an Infinite Campus program showing my progress details to my parents. I feel confident that I have the independence and responsibility needed to succeed in a new system and environment. But I worry that if younger students who go through their entire high school career under the watch that I only became subject to in my last year at Ames High, they might not have the skills needed to stand on their own in college. I worry that if students are not given a chance to fix their own mistakes, to be held accountable for themselves, the transition into the world beyond high school will be filled with unnecessary hardships. And, trust me on this one, that transition is coming mighty soon.