PowerSchool: Teachers’ biggest nightmare

PowerSchool is a disastrous public school information system maintained by Pearson, Inc.  To get a sense of how bad it is, the NC Department of Public Instruction does not have enrollment figures for the first few months of the 2013-14 school year.

The PowerTeacher Gradebook is part of the PowerSchool suite of applications.  Recently, teachers received an email that detailed problems with the online gradebook.  They include,

  • Teachers assigned to a large number of sections (above 12 to 15).  The Gradebook will not load for these teachers.  If it does load, it does not always function as expected.  The grade scale may not be attached, the teachers may not be able to save the grades, and they may not be able to make changes to grades that are already entered. Dropdown boxes may not populate with the choices. In elementary schools, the standards may or may not be listed or populate as expected.
  • Teachers with a large number of assignments experience issues similar to teachers with large numbers of sections.
  • Teachers that have had a large number of students dropped from sections experience issues similar to teachers with large numbers of sections.
  • Grade scales are not always attached to the sections; however, the grade scale is set up for the course appropriately in PowerSchool.  Other teachers with the same course have the grade scale attached.  Grades will appear in red if there isn’t a grade scale attached.
  • Poor/slow/sluggish performance.  Users must save frequently, the saving function is slow.
  • Gradebook freezes so it requires the teacher to shutdown and restart.  Therefore, data entered and not yet saved is lost.  Also, Gradebook freezes when saving grades, so data is lost.
  • Gradebook will not launch.

I hope they take care of these problems in reverse order.

Regardless, I suspect that many teachers would forfeit their imminent pay raise just to have a computer system that, you know, worked.

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