Testing Out the New Grades App: a Review

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By KHASHAYAR GHAFFARIEH
Staff Writer

As soon as a test is over, students scurry out of class exchanging answers accompanied with groans and hurrahs. Many of these students immediately click on a grades application to start inputting potential grades and assessing the effect on their overall grades.

Until recently, most students used a grades app created by Adrien Truong. The app featured a recognizable rainbow colored interface that buzzed whenever a grade was updated and had features such as a grade calculator. This app was used in many school districts and had over one million users. However on April 30, 2018, Truong discontinued the app, leaving many students forced to use the official Aeries app.

A new grades app, developed by junior Anshay Saboo, was released on September 3. Saboo revealed the old app being shut down was his primary source of motivation to create his app, Grades, as he believed that the alternatives were subpar at best.

“They just weren’t as good or as clean or as useful as the old one was and I thought I could do it better,” Saboo said.

As of October, the app has been on the market for less than a month, so public opinion may sway over the coming months as more people start using the app. The app is used by approximately 75 districts and has garnered over 15,000 users already. The app is currently receiving positive reviews from users, averaging at 4.4/5 stars in the App Store.

Although many students appreciate the convenience of such an app, some audiences believe that the concept of a grades app is anxiety-provoking. In addition, many teachers believe that it creates an unrealistic standard on teachers to grade their examinations in an impossible amount of time.

“It turns the gradebook into a game, and students expect immediate gratification from it–there’s too much anxiety wrapped up in checking the boxes,” English teacher Mr. Groh said, “If you turn in an assignment late, you should not expect your grade to be updated instantly; teachers are not apps (or robots).”

When I downloaded Grades I felt that for an app that could induce so much stress, it was remarkably pleasant. Due to its simplistic fonts and overall layout, I believe most users will have a soothing experience. The display was unbelievably simple and the features were easy to use. There are some bugs and crashes in the app which prevents some users from enjoying it fully. However these bugs are minor and are fixed easily. In fact, Saboo has already released updates providing fixes to various bugs.

“I will add a form…built into the app to allow people to communicate with me with feedback directly,” Saboo said.

However, there are potential security concerns due to the app’s use of Firebase, a third party service. Currently in the US, there exists a minimal amount of regulation on how relevant companies may use data in America. When reading the Grades app’s privacy policy, it states, “I want to inform users of this Service that these third parties have access to your Personal Information.” This means that Firebase could access all of your Aeries information and repurpose it for resell or other uses.

Though, when reading further into the app’s privacy policy, the app guarantees that Firebase is “obligated not to disclose or use the information for any other purpose.”

Even with some complications with Firebase as well as some bugs, the new Grades app is quite impressive. However, the user must keep in mind that nothing on the Internet is completely safe and if they feel uncomfortable providing information to a third party service, it is safer to stick to Aeries. Ultimately, for an app that is in early stages of release and developed by a high school student, Grades is an overall positive experience.

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