The "Cost" of Switching Grading Periods

Overview

After using Veracross for a few years, schools sometimes consider switching grading period groups (i.e., switching from quarters/semesters to trimesters).  The following information will attempt to help schools make an informed decision by outlining what such a switch will entail within Veracross. While monetary costs are often the first to come to mind, it is important to keep several other “costs” in mind.

Listed below are some of the main issues that schools should keep in mind when considering switching grading periods.

  1. Changes will need to be made to each report card and progress report document that currently exists in order to support new grading period IDs and, potentially, new formatting (i.e., new columns, etc.). These changes come at an additional cost and vary on a per-school basis depending on the document changes that are needed.
  2. Changes will need to be made to the transcript document to support displaying multi-year history across different grading period groups. These changes come at an additional cost and vary on a per-school basis depending on the document changes that are needed.
  3. There will always be some difficulty when working with historic grades, as there will be a year when grades switch to the different grading period group. Because of this, users will need to know that they will have to adjust their query/report to look at the old/archived grading periods.
  4. Changes will need to be made to the student detail screens to show the new grading period group on the Grades and Attendance tabs.

Perhaps the greatest “cost” comes with the changes that will need to be made to multiple documents. Each user will need to be aware of these changes when using the Find Grades, Find Comments or Find Report Cards queries moving forward. Veracross cannot give an exact quote of the cost until the total number of documents requiring changes and exactly what those changes are is determined.

In summary, while switching grading periods can be done, it is definitely a decision that should not be made lightly. It is a change that will be costly in time and will affect the ease of use within Veracross moving forward.