The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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A Grading of the CPS Grades System

A Grading of the CPS Grades System

It’s been over 4 years since the implementation of Aspen as the main CPS grade tracking system. At this point, most of the people enrolled in CPS don’t even remember Student/Parent Portal, the predecessor of Aspen. And even though it’s been this long, with Aspen having the opportunity to make as many updates and changes as they need, they are still inferior to the original Student Portal in many people’s eyes. Here’s why:

When CPS first introduced Aspen, it was in an attempt to consolidate multiple separate systems into one. CPS also claimed that Aspen would make accessing data easier for students, parents, and teachers alike. On the CPS blog website, Patrick Gallagher, Student Information Systems Director, said, “We will keep listening to our customers and keep making improvements,” in reference to the Aspen site, but this doesn’t seem to be true.

On April 22, 2019, when Aspen was first released to the public, there was major backlash. The overall consensus was that Aspen was unquestionably worse than Student Portal, with most of the concerns being about the user interface and website efficiency that CPS had boasted about previously. On the same day, a Change.org petition was started, arguing to bring back Student Portal with 1,500+ signatures.

Four years later, and the promise of “listening to our customers and keep making improvements” has yet to hold water. “I hate Aspen, that useless website doesn’t even work half the time,” said senior Thomas Valerius. Other students said, “The transcript section is an unnavigable nightmare,” and, “The mobile site is unusable, so I just use Grade Corner.” Grade Corner is a third party application that was literally born from frustration with the Aspen system. Despite being a non-official app, it does Aspen’s job on mobile better than Aspen itself, according to students like Henron Ruan and Steven Song.

With all of Aspen’s shortcomings and long-lasting faults, it can’t be denied that it has fulfilled its intended purpose of combining systems for ease of access. While there are many aspects of Aspen that have challenged that “ease”, it still has much more data all in one place than Student/Parent Portal did. And in the end, it’s still all that we have.

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