Instant (Dis)Satisfaction

We+live+in+a+world+of+instant+access%2C+but+when+it+comes+to+students+grades%2C+that+may+not+be+a+good+thing.

Hallie Dong

We live in a world of instant access, but when it comes to students’ grades, that may not be a good thing.

Hallie Dong, Staff Writer

With a few clicks and a swipe of the mousepad, students are now able to access their student portal, Tyler SIS 360, instantly. Grades, attendance, and upcoming assignments present themselves immediately on the screen. 

However, at North Allegheny Intermediate, there is more to the story. The controversy surrounding this digital student portal poses a question: is having access to grades at their fingertips good, or bad for students’ mental health?

Students’ opinions range from liking Tyler, to having no opinion, to “despising it with my entire being”, as one anonymous sophomore said, “Tyler is terrible for my mental health. After a test, I check it multiple times a day, and each time brings a lot more anxiety.”

So how much access to instant grading information is too much?

“I think I actually like having all the information at my fingertips,” one anonymous sophomore said. “It’s just the fact that I feel compelled to check my grades that much–that’s the real problem.”

However, another freshman adds, “I think having a system that limits your ability to check your grades would be helpful against these obsessive behaviors.”

Interestingly, some students have begun to see Tyler as something which contributes to their overall identity as a student. When asked to state the first three words coming to mind when the word “Tyler” was mentioned, sophomore Julie Kwon said, “Terrified, anxious, but accurate!”

But how good or how bad my grades are, or the anticipation of them not being good–that’s what makes me stressed.”

— Amulya Babburi

While this does hold true for many, not all agree, as other students see no problem with the site. “Tyler doesn’t necessarily make me stressed,” sophomore Amulya Babburi says, “But how good or how bad my grades are, or the anticipation of them not being good–that’s what makes me stressed.”

Thus, Tyler itself is not always the culprit of stress and anxiety; rather, it can often be the imagination of students, no matter how capable or intelligent, which makes them fear the worst.

What’s clear, however, is that there are improvements that can be made regarding the platform. 

Sophomore Linda Kong suggests, “I guess that solution is to have a system where you can’t check your grades so much.” This allows for feeling less compulsion and obsession over grades, potentially decreasing Tyler-associated stress.

On the other hand, one anonymous student thinks creating a more efficient grade-checking system would be fit: “When I see the ‘upcoming assignments’ and all my grades at once, I calm myself down, knowing that what’s done is done, and I’ll get another chance to make my grades better.”

When asked how many times sophomores at NAI check Tyler, the answers ranged from multiple times a day to a few times a week. Sophomore Huma Iren says, “Maybe, like, a couple times a day: 4-ish? It definitely used to be worse: when I was bored, I’d check my grade, which was definitely bad for my mental health.”

Another anonymous sophomore stated, “I check my grades at least 3 times a week–more often, if I know that grades for a big test are going to be there.”

Though Tyler may have its advantages and disadvantages, the student’s mental and emotional health is ultimately what matters. 

And while the opinions regarding Tyler have varied, there may be a need for more student-friendly features, as after all, it’s the one thing students check most during the school day.