Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tracking grades

I know there are a lot of ways to track grades (and attendance, if you choose). I do two different ways, though I sometimes think I should adjust things and learn another, better way.

For writing classes, I keep a folder with a separate page for each student, so I can make notes about things. Each page is laid out on Excel, and printed out with boxes for assignment grades, notes about percentage for each assignment, lots of room for quiz and journal grades.

For example:

Journals (10%): 1) ___ 2) ___ 3) ___ 4) (and so on: room for 15 journals, each student does 10)

Quizzes (10%): Same basic layout as above, except room for 30 quizzes; I try to give 15+ quiz grade type assignments per term, so missing one won't mess them up totally. I ended up giving 20 this term. That also gives me flexibility. (I also put random small assignments into the quiz grade.)

Peer editing (10%): same as above, room for peer editing for each of the five essays; each student should get 2 grades for each essay (one for each peer in a 3 person group), so it comes out nicely to 100 total available points.

Essay 1 (5%): ___

Essay 2 (10%): ___

Essay 3 (15%): ___

Essay 4 (15%): ___

Essay 5 (20%): ___

Presentation for Essay 5 (5%): ___

(And if I did the math right, I have 100% even!)

The advantage to this is that I can have preplanned assignments to fill in, but still be flexible about quizzes. And I can make notes, especially if someone's sick, or has a specific kind of problem on an essay. (When I am at my very best responding, I can give positive feedback about how a student improved on something that was a problem on an earlier essay in a later essay. And I can only do that by making notes, because I seriously won't remember with even 20+ students in a writing class.)

It's easy to add journal, quizz, and peer editing numbers in the left margin, and then enter totals into Excel for the final math.

Another advantage is that at any point in the semester, I can show a student very clearly where s/he stands in grades that have been entered, without having to hide other students' grades in a grade book. It's also easy to visualize which assignments a person has done, which quizzes they've missed (I keep a master sheet with info about the date and topic of quizzes), and so on.

I don't have to be in my office to enter grades, don't have to worry about a grade book. But I do have to keep track of a folder. And, I have to transfer numbers from the sheet into Excel at some point to do the math more quickly. (Though I used to just do the math on each sheet, and it didn't actually take THAT long. It's probably a toss up time-wise.)

Who can help me with a better system? One that wouldn't involve double entering, but would allow flexibility AND notetaking?

What systems do other folks use, and what do you like/dislike about them?

1 comment:

  1. Your system sounds fairly thorough, Bardiac. I'm not sure I could offer anything more.

    A colleague of mine, however, does all written assignments electronically. Students e-mail all papers; she uses the Comment feature of MS Word to add coments. She saves a copy to her computer and uploads it to her WebCT shell directory. She enters each grade in WebCT with a link to the graded paper (with comments). Students can view them, download them, but never erase them. She likes this because everythng is accessible, with no excessive paper, and with a time stamp.

    I might give it a try myself next term. Of course, that means being organized enough to set up the shell well in advance (working on it now).