At the end of each semester, students anxiously wait for their grades to be reported. During vacation, parents wait for the students’ report cards to be sent home, hoping them to be delivered to the right address. The new internet grade reporting system, having started its service on July 15, is aimed to reduce dangers of losing report cards. However, despite its good intentions, the new system has a long way to go to fulfill its purpose.
▲ A screenshot of the internet grade reporting system page.Provided by https://grade.korea.ac.kr
As of the spring 2013 semester, Korea University (KU) introduced a new grade reporting system that allows parents to check their students’ grades online. Parents of KU students can now see their students’ grades by entering the following information: a student’s name, student number, social security number, and parents’ phone number. The former system where report cards were sent to each student’s addresses was inefficient. With the former paper-based service, frequent mis-delivery of report cards due to changes in addresses and disclosure of personal information were the primary concerns. The new online system is aimed to fix the problems and provide KU parents with the most precise and the fastest service.
Although good intentions from the school are to be appreciated, the new system arouses many questions. The first problem emerged regarding its effectiveness in protecting students’ personal information. The online system is designed to foster privacy protection, but it actually allows anyone who knows a student’s basic personal information to view his or her grades. Unlike the former system, where only students and their parents were able to check the grade, the current system enables irrelevant people to see grades.
Regarding this issue, the school is constantly trying to enhance the online security. One of the plans they are currently organizing is an extra process of verifying individual students by sending a code number to the parents’ cell phones. Lee Joo Young of the Korea University Academic Records Team said, “It is indeed the school’s responsibility to secure students’ personal information and grades. In order to strengthen the security, we asked parents to enter additional information, their cell phone numbers; starting from the next semester, we are also planning to add the SMS verification system.” Despite the school’s constant attempt, however, the problem will not be easily tackled down, especially on the Internet where leakage of information is so prevalent every day.
▲ Photographed by Kim Na Young
Some parents also responded to the new system with dissatisfaction. The school introduced the change in the system to parents when they sent report cards of the second semester in 2012. However, still a great number of parents are not aware of the online system. Ko Young Ran (52, Seoul), a parent of one KU student, said, “I had been waiting for the report card to be sent just as it was for former semesters, and I was recently informed of the online system from my daughter.” As such, lack of promotion led to bigger confusion.Not only that, some parents who are not familiar with online methods have trouble even though they do know about the new system. They may undergo a hard time looking for the web page. KU posted a notice of the new system on the official KU site and on the Korea University Portal to Information Depository (KUPID). This is where the problem sprung up since not many parents are aware of KUPID and other relevant websites. Finding the page where parents are asked to enter students’ information to check their grades is the first step of the new system, yet a number of parents encounter obstacles in the first stage. Kim Min Seon (’12, French Language and Literature) claimed, “My parents do not use the Internet often and are not familiar with the online system. The new grade reporting system is definitely inefficient in that it is limited to parents who are used to online methods.” Being used to the paper-based system, parents should have been informed of each step with greater carefulness.
This new system is certainly not good news for those who took and kept report cards before their parents noticed. Some students are not happy about the new system because the university is where they are granted freedom. However, the internet grade reporting system encourages parents to heavily influence them. They began to ask themselves the following question: with this new system, how is university different from high school?
Many students were also suspicious about the sudden change in the system. Lee Eun Jeung (’09, Biotechnology) said, “I believe one of the main reasons the school turned the former paper-based system into the internet system is to reduce its budget.” Lee in Academic Records Team answered, “The online grade reporting system does not actually reduce our budget due to the SMS verification system, which will be applied next semester.” However, not all students gave negative responses toward the new system. Some were discontent with the former system where report cards were not delivered to parents frequently when parents usually are the ones who pay for their tuition fees and have rights to check students’ grades. “I also have an experience, as a freshman, of taking my report card before my parents took it, and a lot of my peers have similar experiences.
As such, students are partly responsible for the change in the grade reporting system. We should not keep blaming the school and the new system,” remarked Chang Se Young (’12, Japanese Language and Literature). Additionally, those who move to a new place no longer need to worry about not receiving their report cards, and are able to easily check online. KU constantly attempts to provide students and parents with the best services in multiple dimensions. Regarding the new grade reporting system, KU had wanted to offer the most effective way to deliver students’ grades to their parents. However, it seems that KU faces a long way to go in order to achieve its goal. In introducing a new system, it is a natural phenomenon to go through the process of trial and errors. Along with the series of trial and errors, the individual student’s effort will help the new internet grade reporting system lead to a world where all students, parents, and the school can smile.