Diego Dela Rosa
Throughout this school year, students might have heard a voice over the intercom reminding teachers to submit their grades. Although these instructions may seem simple, the decisions made behind these grading systems can be perceived as more complex.
This school year Bonita Vista High will implement the use of both Jupiter Ed, formerly known as Jupiter Grades, and Infinite Campus. Unlike last year, when BVH stopped using Jupiter Ed as their grade book and changed to solely using Infinite Campus.
“This year the new Principal left [the choice of grading systems] up to teachers,” BVH site technician David Elsheikh said. “A majority decided to use Jupiter because they like to use it since they’re more familiar with it.”
The decision for last year’s grade book organization was made due to the fact that Infinite Campus combined both grading and attendance. According to Jared Phelps, International Baccalaureate Coordinator and math teacher, Infinite Campus is still considered the “invisible backbone” that supports the school’s grading system.
“The way to think about it is teachers use Jupiter Ed as the way to communicate grades to students and parents. Infinite Campus is the way in which we communicate those grades to the district,” Jared Phelps said. “On a day to day to day basis we use Jupiter Ed and at the end of the grading periods we submit it into Infinite Campus.”
Infinite Campus is a student information system whereas Jupiter Ed was originally made as an online grade book that offers more functions teachers could use. According to Phelps, teachers’ frustration with Infinite Campus was a leading factor in making the change.
“Daily grade updates were much easier and more possible on Jupiter Ed than they ever were on Infinite Campus,” Phelps said. “One of the things that we found last year is that many teachers who had gotten into the habit of trying to update grades every day weren’t doing that anymore because Infinite Campus made that really hard.”
Some teachers voiced their frustration with Infinite Campus by giving it the nickname “Infinitely Bad Campus.” Aside from the lack of user-friendliness for teachers, when inputting grades, some teachers had problems regarding the lack of their input.
“[Last year] the decision wasn’t a choice for teachers, it was a decision made by our former principal,” Biology and IB Environmental Systems and Societies teacher Jennifer Ekstein said.
Ekstein states she is happy about implementing both systems this year as she finds using Jupiter Ed easier than Infinite Campus. Aside from benefiting teachers, BVH’s decision to use both programs also benefits school administration as Infinite Campus is useful for them.
“One of the really amazing features of Infinite Campus is that it gives administrators access to the entire database of information,” Phelps said. “Jupiter Ed doesn’t have that level of capabilities. It is not a database, it is not designed to be a searchable customizable database and I think that that is why the Infinite Campus database is so valuable to the administrators.”
One function that Infinite Campus possesses is the ability to find and present data electronically through filters. For example, Infinite Campus could categorize the students who had a certain English teacher their freshman year and are failing their current English classes. Additionally, Infinite Campus is where teachers take attendance. However, other groups on campus state using both programs is not optimal.
“Ideally, the Information Technology department would like everyone using Infinite Campus, but we’re continuing to support both if teachers want to use either,” Elsheikh said. “[From a technological standpoint] there isn’t a benefit to using both. A benefit would be everyone using the same program.”
The reason for this opinion is that there is some disruption when the IT department has to operate and manage two systems. Additionally, some students also find the new system to be problematic. This perception stems from the fact that some teachers are not using both programs, only using one instead.
“When I am checking Jupiter, which is where most of my teachers are putting in grades, some of my grades will be there and some won’t,” senior Thanhphuong Ly said. “For example, in English, my teacher uses Infinite Campus rather than Jupiter and it is inconvenient having to go back and forth between the two programs. Even though it’s not that much, it can get confusing having to switch between the programs.”
According to Ly, it would be more beneficial for the school to implement one uniform system. Although specific individuals and groups hold different opinions on this topic, the administration wants to ensure that accessibility is being upheld.
“We want students and parents to have a very easy experience checking grades and knowing where they are,” Phelps said. “That way grades aren’t just a surprise at the end of the semester.”