One my recent obsessions this school year is figuring out the best assessment strategies and methods of reporting student progress.  While I have not even covered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mastering how I assess my students and provide them with timely, meaningful feedback, I have been struggling this year with translating these practices into the limiting, number-based, weighted, percentile gradebook system that I am currently required to use.

I recently tweeted out that I needed to be a software designer so I could develop a system that would allow me to report how my students were progressing on standards along with the ability to provide individualized comments.

Within minutes I received a tweet from Riley Lark, who stated that he himself had gone through the same challenge and had come up with a solution himself. His solution, ActiveGrade, provides a customizable gradebook that allows the teacher to enter standards, assessments and grades based on either a percentile scale or a rubric scale.  Teachers can then print out or email customizable reports that automatically populate individual grade reports in the form of a letter for each student.  Teachers can input personalized comments for each student to be included in the report.

I tested it by easily copy/pasting in one of my class lists and was quite satisfied with the report it created. I was also excited by the opportunity to show a list of standards rather than random-seeming tests/quizzes or other assessments that don’t paint a complete picture of what a student knows or doesn’t know.  All assessments can be grouped by standard to paint a picture of a student’s progress toward mastering a standard.

You can try it for free for 14 days or pay just $12 until September.  If you want to start using it next year it will cost about $40 for the entire year.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Random thoughts/questions:

    Curious Mary Beth if you know any other technology teachers using sbar?

    I can see how you could use the NETS as standards but even so they are fairly broad and leave alot of subjectivity.

    You are required to give letter grades even in elementary school? My own kids don't get letter grades but their whole report card is a rubric of skills where they get a 1-3 on them. Come to think of it we get no feedback at all from their "special" teachers. Is that common?

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