The BSD has put many efforts into nurturing student growth. Through trial and error, they have created a curriculum that allegedly best fits the learning capabilities of students. Recently however, they have decided to make a few more adjustments that they hope will allow students to produce even greater results. For example, IQWST and Amplify science were both tested during the school year of 2016-17 and will be implemented in the following year. However, the foremost change that the BSD has settled on is the conversion from the Aspen Student Information System (SIS) by Follett to Edupoint’s Synergy grading system.
I understand that many of the BSD’s actions have the potential to improve education, however, I don’t see how the change of a grading system would make much of a difference. IQWST and Amplify can bring new hands-on equipment. This may enhance student understanding or hinder it (although as I mentioned, these actions are a trial and error process). When looking at the change of just a grading system, there isn’t much that will allow for a student to excel any more than before.
After omitting all the fancy words used by Edupoint to describe their newest product, there only are a couple of differences between Edupoint and Aspen.
One of the primary differences that can be seen is the Synergy Assessment. This is a product that allows teachers to create their own assessments, which can be used as benchmark tests to measure student progress. I agree that this could be very helpful to a classroom—a teacher can adjust assignments by student performance to optimize learning for each student—however, there is a fatal flaw. This method primarily relies on the teacher to spend hours of planning and making adjustments to assignments, and many teachers do not spend this much time on students. Although the BSD is one of the strongest school districts in America, we still have several teachers who can barely get grades in on time. Ultimately, this will not work if the teacher does not utilize this mechanism well.
Another “difference” from Aspen would be the Synergy Learning Management System (LMS), but in the grand scheme of things, there really isn’t a difference. Synergy LMS allows for the teacher to have a calendar, allowing them to plan tasks and assignments, but as of right now, most teachers use the Assignment Calendar on OneNote. The Assignment Calendar is also more flexible because the teacher can add comments and additional information with a stylus pen.
Finally, there is Synergy Analytics. This would provide visuals on student performance from their first assignment. Edupoint claims that this product can enhance student performance through these visuals as teachers can quickly identify areas that require reinforcement. But once again, the flaw is in the fact that teachers will be the root of the establishment. Without a thoughtful teacher, there would be no use of this product.
There seems to be one common problem between these systems, that is, the teacher. That being the case, instead of lingering around with grading systems, BSD should be working on hiring more qualified teachers—teachers that believe in teaching the class for the sake of teaching.