Sunday, November 6, 2011

Administrators: 3 Reasons Your School Needs An Online Gradebook

There is no doubt that true innovation using 21st century tools begins with the teachers, and sometimes the best thing an administrator can do when they want them to use technological innovation, is to remove barriers to implementation and get out of the way.  This fall, my teaching staff decided to use Engrade, an online gradebook, as their gradebook. After setting up a school account, we've had an extremely successful implementation.  If your school is thinking about using Engrade or another online gradebook, here’s 3 good reasons to do that.
  • Parents and students have access to their grades at any time. Too often, grades are hidden from view until progress report time or report card time. That's way too late! Students often do not see the immediate effects of not turning in assignments or low test grades with traditional gradebooks. With Engrade, students can check their grades on their own to see how they are doing. In addition,  parents can check their child’s grades each day or as often as they wish. The whole “surprise factor” is taken out of the grading process. Since implementation, our parents have repeatedly expressed their satisfaction of being able to check their child’s grades at any time.
  • Engrade is simple to use. Often, my experience is that online gradebooks are ponderous things that try to do too much. One example of this kind of gradebook is the one employed by our state. It is a massive grading program that does lots of things, but it takes a PhD to figure out how to run simple reports. It simply tries to do too much. Engrade is simple by nature and design. Teacher assignments such as adding tasks and grades is a cinch. As administrator, when I want to run a report listing how all students in my school are doing, I don’t have to worry about filters and queries. I click on a button and it happens. Simplicity rules!
  • It’s free. Our whole school is currently using the free version of Engrade. Just the free version has been successful. However, we are exploring whether to purchase the premium version because it adds some functionality we would like to have such as custom reports and school-wide grade reports.
When it comes to true innovation, it doesn’t take a complex technological product to make it happen. It also doesn’t take a product that serves every single need we have as educators. Engrade works for us because it fulfills our need for a simple gradebook that provides access to both our parents and students, that's simple to use, and it’s free or low cost.

For information about Engrade, check out their web site,

Note: For those wondering, I did not receive anything for endorsing Engrade in this post.  In fact, I would add that any online gradebook that offers all stakeholders access, that is simple to use, and that is low cost or free, is the kind of online gradebook educators want.

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