A little background:
- I am the computer teacher
- I see 22 classes a week
- Roughly 700 students
- No school-wide grading platform
- Our central NYCDOE registration/attendance/data system generates Excel sheets with all student information so any platform I use I think about the data originating from Excel as I'd rather copy & paste as opposed to manually entering 700 names...
Each year I try to test out different ways of managing my grade book, efficiently. I'm always looking for ways to improve. In the past I have used:
- Excel workbooks - yes, plural, one for each class (early in my career, not a smart move)
- Excel workbook - one file with multiple sheets for each individual class (smarter than the original - I learn from my mistakes)
- Numbers workbook - no real reason, just wanted to stop using Excel - structured it the same way, 1 file with multiple sheets
- Numbers workbook w/iCloud - aiming for some remote access & syncing - this was in the early ways of the iWork.com platform. The Numbers file was fine locally but the cloud syncing was in its infancy and a bit clunky
- Numbers workbook w/Dropbox - better cloud solution but on my iPad I had no editing capability (unless I opened in iOS Numbers, edited, and then sent back to iOS Dropbox... a bit clunky)
Look like great apps, but getting 700 names in doesn't seem to be so easy
With all of these solutions I set up a numeric daily grade with an ending column, "Daily", that averages them. There are also individual columns for specific assignments, and a "Work" column of the average. An "AVG" column at the end averages the "Daily" and "Work" fields to get me an overall average. Since we are on a 1, 2, 3, or 4 grading system I then make a judgement call for the final, report card, grade.
This year I am going Google Drive Spreadsheet. 1 file containing 22 sheets, one for each class. We are a Google Apps for Education school and have been using the full suite extensively for years. Giving Drive a try as a central hub for all my class grading seems like a logical choice to try at this point. Honestly I would have tried it sooner, but it wasn't until middle of last year that Google added Spreadsheet editing to their iOS app.
I'm going this route for 2 main reasons:
- I can access & edit my grade book from anywhere, including & especially my iPad
- The Mavericks/OS10.9 and iOS 7 iWork cloud upgrades have not been released yet, and I like to start the year with a fresh platform (I will run a duplicate grade book on Mavericks/iOS7 once they are available to test the iCloud/iWork capabilities)
I am looking forward to the editing capability on my iPad, I hope that increases the efficiency. No "offline" editing capability on the iPad is a concern, but hopefully I wont be trying to update my grades when I'm without wifi (no wifi generally means golf and/or vacation...)
It will be interesting to see how it goes. I am looking forward to the OSX and iOS updates because I love the iWork suite and would love to have iWork available with similar access/syncing as Google Drive, but I'm also excited to see how standardizing on Drive works for me this year...
(as a related side note, I've moved my plan book from Pages to Google Drive too - there are already some issues, but that is for another post...)