I’ve been toying with different grading systems. As a new teacher, I’m willing to invest some time in this to find a solution that will work for me for a long while.
- available no matter which computer I’m using (and whether or not I remembered my thumb drive)
- allows for weighing of categories
- allows for more than one of students
- works for me in a way that makes sense to me
Things I’ve tried:
- paper system
- Excel spreadsheet
- My Gradebook
- Paper systems are bulky, easy to forget, difficult to update (writing in pen makes changing grades difficult). I end up having to do a lot of calculations and spend a lot of time with a calculator. It’s a waste of time and energy. They are good for recording but that’s about it. In fact, I don’t think that traditional grade/lesson plan books are good for much of anything other than getting in my way of being truly organized.
- Excel spreadsheets work well. That is what have used for the last two years. The problems with them are two-fold. First of all, if I am at work and forgot my spreadsheet well, then I have to write it all down on paper and then remember to record it in the spreadsheet. Secondly, I am unable to easily categorize and weigh differently types of assignments — for example, in Math, I weigh homework and tests differently. In Excel, this is difficult.
- My Gradebook. This works. It’s a great system, full of useful features. It is pretty complicated and has a fairly high learning curve to it, in my opinion. The biggest downfall is cost. It costs $50/year. That comes out of my pocket and I find it hard to justify that kind of expense when there are free options available. The pros with an online gradebook — online means access anywhere. I could take a stack of papers to my mother-in-law’s and record the grades from there. Fantastic. It does the calculations for you (like Excel) but you can also set up categories and weigh them differently. My Gradebook also has a nice feature that allows you to discard a set number (that you set) of assignments in a particular category. That is a nice feature. But, is it worth paying for?
- Engrade. Has most of the benefits of My Gradebook plus one huge advantage . . . it’s free! Truly free. Amazing! It’s easy to work with, has the features that I require — it works. It’s my pick.