One of the first things schools do to reflect upon the year is taking a look at their gradebooks. This reflection can be exciting, or it can cause panic, depending on whether your school’s grading system works for you and your students. Grading systems are often set up to reflect the preferences of the school, but there are still plenty of opportunities for schools to have the right gradebook features.
Standard Gradebook Software Features
All gradebook software features the standard features, such as final grades and a place to include comments. Each school will have different needs – no grading system is universal – but there are some common items that all schools should consider.
#1: Automatic Grading
Some teachers prefer to keep track of all grades manually, but automatic grading is a feature that reduces workload and speeds up the end-of-year period. Many programs offer this feature, where students’ marks are automatically pulled from specific assessment tools. When you update the grade in the assessment tool, it updates in the gradebook software.
#2: Calculating Average Grades
No grading system is complete without the ability to calculate final grades. This process will include taking attendance, calculating different grades for individual assignments and tests, adding up all these numbers, and converting them into a letter or percentage grade.
#3: Assigning Points To Each Assignment And Test
Some schools prefer to track different grades based on the assignments and tests given. This makes it easier to compare different sets of grades, rather than seeing a whole number grade for finals. In order to calculate final grades, teachers need a place to record how many points each assignment or test is worth.
#4: Making up Assignments And Tests During The Year
It’s not uncommon for students to miss out on making up assignments and tests during the school year due to weather-related closures, illness, or other reasons. Some schools simply allow students to do this as extra credit, while others require teachers to create a specific assignment and test so all students have the same opportunity.
#5: Tracking Attendance
Many schools keep track of attendance, especially since this affects final grades. There may be a separate grade for homework and another for regular class participation. Teachers keep track of this by entering a checklist, noting how many days the student attended each class.
8 Custom Gradebook Features That Help Teachers and Schools
Custom gradebook features are a great way to tailor the software to your school’s needs. Here are eight customer gradebook features to consider that will help both teachers and schools:
#1: Allowing Teachers To Edit Or Change Grades
Some teachers are very regimented in how they input grades. Other teachers are more relaxed, allowing students to turn work in late or not handing back assignments on time. Either way, having the ability to change or edit grades can save a lot of time at the end of the year
#2: Having The Ability To Adjust Weighting
Some schools weigh certain grades higher than others, while some grade on a curve. When the gradebook doesn’t allow for this, it can be frustrating to have to change or re-do all of the grades just because one student had an outstanding day.
#3: Customizing Names And Dates
Teachers often have to input the names of students, which can be tiring if there are many students. The same goes for dates. If teachers want to use abbreviations or other notations, they should be able to customize this feature so it’s easier to enter information.
#4: Customizing Letters And Numbers For Final Grades
Teachers should be able to customize their final grade letters and numbers, in the event that students are struggling with a certain type of grading. For example, if your school uses A-D grades for regular work, but allows E or F grades for missed work or late assignments, this should be customizable in the gradebook software.
#5: Showing Date Grades Are Calculated
Many parents are surprised to find out that grades aren’t always updated the instant students turn in work. Teachers input all grades at the end of each grading period, which can be tiring if there are many grading periods. The gradebook should show when grades are calculated to prevent frustration from teachers and parents.
#6: Allowing Teachers To Make Assignments And Tests In Advance
In order to calculate final grades, teachers should be able to make assignments and tests ahead of time. This allows the teacher to maintain a consistent workflow throughout the grading period instead of scrambling at the end because a certain test was given on a random day.
#7: Creating Custom Categories For Student Grades
In order to differentiate student grades, teachers should be able to create custom categories for assignments and tests. This allows the teacher to weigh certain things more heavily than others if he or she wants to do so. In addition, custom categories can help with grading curve calculations.
#8: Creating Custom Categories For Classes And Grading Periods
If a school uses certain classes to differentiate student grades, the gradebook software should allow teachers to create custom categories for these classes. It’s also helpful if teachers can create custom categories for grading periods so it’s easier to input final grades without having to enter an entire semester.
Why Custom Gradebook Features Are Better For Your School
There are many reasons using custom gradebook features is better for your school.
#1: Time Savings
Each of these gradebook features allows teachers to save time grading. Whether teachers can edit grades, input them ahead of time, or make certain assignments and tests in advance, the more accurate grading will ensure that final grades are calculated accurately.
#2: Less Stress On Teachers
The less time teachers spend inputting grades, the more time they have to prepare for lessons, grade student work, and plan future assignments. If teachers can input grades ahead of time or make certain assignments and tests in advance, they will be less stressed at the end of grading periods.
#3: Less Stress On Parents And Students
If students usually find out their grades at the last minute, it can put a lot of stress on them. This is especially true if the grades are low, so these gradebook features can help students and parents understand better how their grades were calculated.
#4: Increased Accuracy
The more accurate the calculation of final grades is, the less likely teachers will be to have errors and discrepancies. This means there won’t be as much confusion at parent-teacher conferences or other similar events. It also means teachers won’t have as much negative feedback if they need to appeal a grade or re-input something because of a clerical error on their end.
The key here is that the software should be flexible enough for teachers to choose what’s best for their school and student body, not forcing them into a standard grading system that doesn’t work for them.
If you’re in the market for a new gradebook, consider whether it offers custom gradebook features that can be tailored to your school. These features will save both teachers and students time and stress while also increasing accuracy for final grades.
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