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April 2008
Vol 5 No 4
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Back Issues
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.4 April 2008

Cover Story by Marvin Marshall
Immaculate Perception
There is no such thing as immaculate perception. What you see is what you thought before you looked.


Harry & Rosemary Wong
Effective Teaching
Schools That Beat the Academic Odds

Columns
Are We Demanding Enough of Our Students?
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five
Podcasting 101
Think Outside the Box
Problem-Based Learning Part 2: Good problems
Ten Ways to Foster Resiliency in Children

Articles
Finger in the Dike Protects Half the Kingdom
April 2008 Writing Prompts
Amusing Abacus
Making the Grade
The Disrespecting of Social Studies
Classroom Magazines: More Than Just Shared Reading
The Silenced Majority
I Won't Learn What You Teach!
Dear Laura Bush
Choice, Access, and Relevance: Reading Workshop in the High School Classroom
Stay Inside the Lines
Chat with Grant Writing Expert LaVerne Hamlin
Proofreading and Learning Disability
Choose-a-Chart
Drexel Online Education Program

Features
Featured Lessons: April 2008
Video Bytes: Abbott and Costello, Earth Day rant and more
Today Is... Daily Commemoration for April 2008
Live on Teachers.Net: April 2008
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
HELP! Grading: How Do You Do It?
Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


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Cover Story by Marvin Marshall

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HELP! Grading: How Do You Do It?

Sound Advice from the Teachers.Net Trenches
Teachers.Net Community
Regular Feature in the Gazette
April 1, 2008
When new teacher Martina cried, "Help!" veteran teachers offered information about their favorite grade book programs.

Martina sought help from her colleagues on the Middle School Chatboard and The Math Teachers Chatboard. Before 24 hours had elapsed, the responses added up to a solution for her grade keeping woes.

"I am a new teacher, and I'm finding it very difficult to keep track of my grades for 90 students. I have the traditional grade book, but when it comes down to calculating their final grades, I run into problems. It's so time consuming to use the book. I know some teachers in my school use Excel and other programs. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this process easier? Thanks!"

Posted by Joe/HS/CT
I use a total point system--every assignment is worth a certain number of points depending on the length/difficulty of the particular assignment. (That way, one homework assignment that is really short might be worth 5 points, while one that is more complex might be 10-15 points.) At the end of the term, I just add all of the points each student earned and divide by the total number of possible points. I do keep my grades in a paper grade book, but I enter them into a computer program at the middle and end of each term in order to calculate student averages. I use InteGrade Pro (which is available to all teachers at my school), but before we had that I used Gradekeeper, which you can download for free from the Internet. I really liked that program--it was easy to use and printed the basic reports that I needed. Anything is better than doing all of those grades by hand!!

Posted by Dakin
Have you heard of Engrade? It's a free online grade book. It calculates the averages for you, and you can export it to an excel spreadsheet to keep a copy on your own computer (which I like because I worry about logging on someday and not finding the site, still a little technologically challenged I guess).

Posted by jenny
Are you sure your school/district doesn't have a computer grading system? I was under the assumption most schools do. Good luck!!

Posted by Hate doing the math
Our school uses a district-wide record-keeping and grade program called STI. We have to use it to post our grades and parents get a password where they can check their children's grades online. I still use Gradekeeper (www.gradekeeper.com). You can try it free, and if you buy it, it is still less than $20 for a lifetime license-WELL worth it. Quarter grades, semester grades, and end of the year grades are all figured for you. Automated "Missing Assignment" lists and easy to read Student Reports. I highly recommend Gradekeeper.

Posted by Cristy
I also use Engrade.com. The program is free, user-friendly, and you have the option of giving each student an individual login so they can access their grade at any time. I definitely recommend it!

Posted by tgs/ga/8
My school uses what is called I-grade. I enter the grades, can weight different categories, and it averages current term - as well as cross-term - grades so that I always know what the student's grade is at that point in time, for the entire year.

There is also a parent end of this called I-parent. Parents receive pass codes for all of their children, and can access their kids' grades, 24/7, for all of their classes. I can put comments in when I enter grades, so it has eliminated a LOT of phone calls home to parents. I TRULY like it.

Posted by Rich/CA/Math
If you are old enough to remember typewriters then you probably remember the moment when you discovered word processing and how it was so far superior to typewriting that you soon wondered how you did without it. It is the same with using a grade book program. Almost any grade book program will be far superior to a paper grade book. Although in the past I have gone the Excel route, I would strongly recommend an actual grade book program.

Others have given recommendations and I will add to them. I have used Classmate which I was very happy with. Then our school adopted one called EasyGrade Pro. I was not happy to have to change, but after a short time I was very happy with this program - I liked it even better than Classmate. But I really can recommend either.

Posted by hcms on 3/25/08
We haven't used a paper grade book in years. We currently use the I-Cue system. This is a web-based system so you don't have to worry about "losing" your grades. Parents actually have access to all of the grades, also. This is the third grade book program that our school has used. We were all reluctant to change when we first started and some people still keep both electronic and paper grade books but when it comes time to average grades, it's already done for you.

Posted by Kim/math/AR
My school uses GradeQuick, which I think you can purchase as a single license. It is fairly easy to figure out. When GradeQuick wasn't working at the beginning of the year, I started using Thinkwave. I really like it - it is free, user friendly, and you can publish grades to the Internet so parents and students can check grades whenever they want. I have never used that part of the program, since the school did get GradeQuick up and running.

I do not use a traditional grade book. I don't like having to write students names in the grade book every 9 weeks. And, when students move in/out of class it just gets messy. I make grade sheets that I keep in a 3 ring binder. I set up a table in Microsoft Word. I type the students' name in the first column, and have blank columns for grades. (I also print off another sheet for attendance.) I try to put grades into the computer about once a week. It doesn't take long.

The blank grade sheets can also be used to keep track of students' book numbers, progress reports signed and returned, etc.

Posted by AKteacher
We also use Easy Grade Pro and I don't have to type names in to keep a paper copy. We import them from the district's website into Easy Grade Pro and then I print out grade sheets with the student's names already on them to keep a paper copy (so I can walk around and grade, etc). I also enter grades at least once a week on the computer to keep on top of things.



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