When the beginning of a new semester rolls around, thousands of students and teachers everywhere turn their attention to tracking grades for all assignments and tests. This can be a frustrating process though when information is not readily available or you’re not sure where to look.
Fortunately, there are several good ways that teachers can keep track of grades online.
The best way to track and manage grades online is through a robust online gradebook. Using this method, teachers can track grades for both students and classes within their gradebooks.
Finding The Perfect Online Gradebook: What to Look Out For
As you’re looking for the perfect online gradebook to suit your needs, be sure that it has all of these important features:
1. Central Location for Storing All Info
Your online gradebook should keep all of your students’ grades in one central location where you can easily access and update them as frequently as needed.
You’ll want to customize your online gradebook layout so that it fits into the workflow that works for your class. For example, you might choose to have a different gradebook layout for each of your different classes.
3. Tracking System
A tracking system will help you identify trends and patterns that affect the overall performance of a certain group or class more quickly than you would otherwise be able to.
4. Import/Export System
If you are switching between gradebooks, it might be useful to have an import/export system.
5. Adequate Security
Your online gradebook should have adequate security so that only authorized users can access it. You should also take any precautions necessary to make sure your grading information stays secure and is not accessible to students.
6. Gradebook Access from Any Location or Computing Device
Your gradebook should be accessible from most locations and computing devices so you can access it wherever necessary. This is especially important if you have a physical disability, but it’s still a good idea even for teachers with no disabilities because life happens and working from another location is sometimes necessary.
Different online gradebook services have different price ranges, so find the one you need within your budget while still getting all of the features that are most important to you.
Tips for Better Tracking Grades Online
Once you’ve found the perfect online gradebook, it’s time to start tracking grades for your students. Here are some tips for better tracking student grades:
1. Organizing Grades into Categories
Rather than simply listing all grades, organize them into categories that are specific to your class. For example, you might choose to have separate gradebook entries for homework, tests, quizzes, and other graded activities. This will help you identify trends more quickly so you can provide the most effective feedback possible.
2. Entering Grades Early on to Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination often leads to poor time management skills, which can result in grade entry being delayed or forgotten about entirely. To avoid this, enter grades as soon as possible after grading them so that there isn’t a chance for procrastination to get the best of you.
3. Providing Good Feedback for Improved Grades
If you don’t provide clear and accurate feedback, students won’t know what they did wrong or how to improve their work. So make sure to give your students helpful feedback that can guide them towards improved grades the next time around.
4. Keeping Notes on Every Student
You’ll want to keep notes on every student so that you can remember information about them that might affect their grades, such as learning disabilities. This will help you better understand each student’s unique situation and find the best ways to provide feedback.
5. Developing Systems within Your Class for Providing Feedback
Forming systems within your class can help provide students with more meaningful feedback. For example, you might have students provide brief written responses to all tests or quizzes so that you can check their understanding of specific areas before marking them up with a grade.
6. Providing Feedback on Tests and Quizzes in Advance
If your class will be taking a test or quiz soon, it’s best to give feedback on the material in advance so that students can study it. That way, they can improve their grades without having to wait for you to mark up their papers with your thoughts and return them.
Choosing a Grading System
There are also several different types of grading systems to choose from when tracking grades for students in your classes. Consider the following two options:
1. Weighted Grading System
This type of grading system gives each assignment or test a different number of points so that students can receive more grades throughout the grading period. This system is especially useful for classes with more than one midterm and/or final exam, but it can also be used in other situations when you need to give more grade weight to certain types of assignments.
2. Uniform Grading System
Instead of giving each assignment a different number of points, this grading system assigns the same number of points to every grade that is given. This way, you can give an A+ to one student and an A to another without changing the total number of points for each grade. This type of grading system is useful for classes with an even spread of grades throughout the grading period.
You can also use a combination of weighted and uniform grading systems where students receive one number of points for each graded assignment or test and then have those numbers of points added together to form the grade they received on the final exam or midterm. In this system, it’s important to make sure that all grades are equally as valuable as others.
There are numerous strategies that you can use to track grades online and provide good feedback for students. You just need to decide when and how often you’ll enter grades, give feedback, and keep notes on every student.
You also need to consider the grading system that will work best for your class before tracking grades in a spreadsheet or other document. These strategies are more effective than simply asking students to turn in their homework or having them submit projects without any sort of feedback.
Feedback is an essential part of doing well in school and with these grading tips you’ll be able to help all your students succeed throughout the semester, quarter, or year!
Zara Raza is the Head of Marketing at SchoolCues, the all-in-one small school solution for schools with limited budgets and resources.