There can be many ways that schools use student portals. For example, the Chicago Public Schools system states that students can check their grades and attendance when using their student portal.
Des Moines Public Schools states that students and parents can use their student portal to access information related to courses, while parents can use the portal to view the academic information of their children.
Student portals for colleges may be somewhat more robust. For example, Waldorf College states that students can read news and announcements, access writing and math tutoring services or access any necessary forms via the student portal. It can also be used to make tuition payments, keep up with events at the school and access school email accounts.