Pearson’s Powerschool Redefines Epic Fail In NC

UPDATE: Welcome Carolina Plott Hound readers!


Without argument, Pearson’s Powerschool has been riddled with issues, bugs and complaints. A year later, I am still weeding through the four giant boxes of documents NC DPI sent me on Powerschool after I put in a Freedom of Information Act request.

In my weeding through these documents so far, I’ve got a pile probably 100 pages worth of issues and complaints from education officials, charter schools, superintendents and more. Mind you, I still have one more box to get through.

I don’t have a lot of free time, but this little project just got moved up on the priority scale for me after I had a conversation with my child’s teacher where I learned something rather horrifying things about Powerschool.

Little warning here – you are entering a snark heavy zone.

1. Powerschool is logging every single Common Core move our kids make.
Teachers (at least in Wake County) have to log the score of ‘blackline master’ assessments given on each standard, strand or what-have-you which are given weekly. These scores are what are making up the child’s overall ‘proficiency’ score.

Did you know they were doing that with these ‘blackline master sheets’? Me neither.

DPI insists there are no tests with Common Core. These ‘blackline master’ documents are assessments. Assessments are tests. DPI is so full of crap.

My son is acutely aware he is being tested every week. Perhaps this is why he came home last week and demanded I homeschool him for Third grade.

His words, not mine: “there are too many tests.”

Gee, ya think? I counted over 95 assessments in 3rd grade alone in Wake County. What the bleepity bleep??! When do the teachers teach??

2. Related to Powerschool logging our kids moves.
It appears most teachers are still keeping hand written grade books because Powerschool is such a cluster$#!%.

Why are they doing that?

Powerschool isn’t capturing the scoring correctly apparently or it is altering how one score impacts another. Whatever the problem is,  scores entered are not producing the right final score for the child.

Teachers are manually having to go in and fix the grades… IF, in their copious free time, they can figure out which standard in Powerschool triggers the correction they need.

We’ve just redefined the term ‘epic fail’.

3. Our teacher mentioned that they hate how common core ‘jumps around’.
The kids are being jerked back and forth in math.

They are taught one concept, but then before they can master it and do related tasks, they are yanked into learning something totally different.

Our teacher hinted that they follow the progression they know makes sense and blows off the common core schedule. Good. For. Them.

Now for the Punchline:
As a parent of an elementary aged child, I STILL DON’T HAVE ACCESS THREE YEARS AFTER ROLL OUT.

The first two years, we elementary parents had no access because the system ‘wasn’t ready’ for us yet.

I can’t tell you how incredibly comforting it was that I was unable to see all the data being collected on my kid in Kindergarten and First Grade, especially under Common Core.

This year, no one at DPI or WCPSS apparently knows anything about where I can go to bring my application for parent access.

DPI/WCPSS say take the application to your school.

Our school says ‘we know nothing’ about Powerschool applications. Ask DPI/WCPSS.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. 

I am just so thrilled that international money-making machine, Pearson, has incorporated my kid into a data sets in their massive and very specific national database,  that they will turn around and use to make even more money with.  

So excited! I always wanted my kid to be a set of data points that some giant company would make money off of!  NOT.

Can I throw up now?

Enough. We, as parents, need to refuse any more of this crap.

I’d encourage other parents out there having issues with Powerschool to reach out to their General Assembly representation. We’re headed into the long session. I am sure the General Assembly would be interested in the millions we’ve spent on this three-ring circus and the frustrations and revelations of the public over Powerschool like the ones I’ve unloaded here.

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About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
This entry was posted in Common Core, EDUCATION, Wake County School Board and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pearson’s Powerschool Redefines Epic Fail In NC

  1. Zach says:

    Our parents have had access for just over 2 years now. That makes me think it is not a state issue, but rather county or more likely school issue. Obviously I don’t know the school or even county stance on this, but your child should also have a login. Their login will give you essentially the same screens as your parent login. Second, and without seeing your child’s classroom I don’t know, but not all assessments are tests. I assess my students daily by giving them a question or two as they walk out the door. It doesn’t go in the grade book but it certainly qualifies as an assessment. All tests are assessments, but not all assessments are tests.


    • I live in Wake County.
      There is no excuse for one of the largest districts in NC not having access for elementary parents for over two years. Period.

      If these assessments are being used to compiled my child’s overall score — it’s a test.

      “All tests are assessments, but not all assessments are tests.”

      I totally disagree. If you’re assessing something, you’re testing it.


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