How to Make the Most of Your School Gradebook

As you are well aware, your gradebook is where it all comes together. It’s where your students’ final grades are computed. This is also where your school’s grading policy is applied in order to determine how many points each assignment earns in a given class. However, not every teacher finds it easy to use a gradebook, even if it may be online. That is why we want to go over some tips to make the most of your online school gradebook.

Make The Most Out of Your Online Gradebook With These 8 Tips

Grading does not need to be difficult. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting full use out of your gradebook and being able to go in and grade easily.

Post grades frequently

Keeping your gradebook updated frequently is the best way to ensure you are on top of things. There’s nothing worse than forgetting which assignment someone has not turned in or, even worse, being tardy with grading midterms. Students can become anxious about their grades for this very reason, so it’s important that you are as transparent as possible with your students. You can use a grading sheet if it helps you, but remember to update the gradebook so all of your students know about their academic progress.

Use tiered grades

In order to give your students a better idea of how well they are doing in class, break down your grades into different tiers. There is nothing wrong with giving students a grade such as an A or B, but this doesn’t give them much information about where they stand within the class. If you want to give feedback to your students so they can continue to improve in your class, consider breaking down grades into categories like:

・Exceeds Standards

・Meets Standards

・Approaching Standards

・Beginning of Standard

Each grade tells a student something different about their performance in your class. The more information you give them, the better they will be able to learn from their mistakes and do well next time around. Make sure that all of your students know what each tier means as well. For example, if you write out your gradebook at the beginning of the semester, by lecture or section number, make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Keep track of students’ assignments in the gradebook

Although it is always best to keep a record in your classroom notebook, you need to make sure that all of your students can see their grades at any time. It will also help you stay organized so you don’t have to guess when someone turned in what assignment. If you group each assignment under its respective project or quiz, you can easily see which assignments your students have turned in and their current grade. Having this information readily available helps to make grading faster and easier.

You can also label certain assignments with different colors so that it will be even more clear for the whole class. This helps to identify missing work quickly and often reduces questions from the class.

Include assignment weight in your gradebook

When you include the weights of each assignment, it helps you determine what someone needs to score on an exam to get a certain grade. If someone scores at least a 70% on a quiz worth 25% of their mark, this tells them that they have fulfilled half of their requirements.

Although you should not have to calculate someone’s final grade, keeping track of weights will help you figure out where they are standing. This saves you time in the long run and prevents unnecessary questions from your students.

Keep an eye on student absences

Although you should be keeping track of your students’ attendance, it helps to have a place online where you can see who is absent and then easily share this information with other teachers. This helps make sure that the proper number of contact hours are being reached for each student.

You should also keep an eye on any assignments or tests which were missed. If this is not recorded, you might end up over or under grading your students. Although it is always better to ask for an assignment than miss one completely, keeping track of missed work will help you in the long run.

Do not include extra credit

Extra credit assignments are great for students who need a little boost but they should never make up a significant part of your grading scheme. If you have an extra credit assignment which is worth 10% of their grade, this means that it will take a student less than half the semester to get an A if they make a perfect score on the extra credit.

If this happens, then something is clearly wrong with what you are trying to accomplish in your class and how well you are communicating it.

Do not give partial credit

This goes hand-in-hand with including assignments’ weights as part of the final grade. If an assignment is worth 25% of someone’s mark and two students turn in different versions of it, you cannot give one person 50% and another 25%. This sets up unfair expectations for both parties and makes your grading scheme unclear.

If you keep track of weights and grades in your gradebook, you can easily identify when someone has missed an assignment or needs to do extra work around that time. This allows you to see where they are and if their mark is truly representative of their abilities.

Do not negotiate grades

Negotiating grades is a slippery slope. If you change someone’s grade and they ask why, then this puts you in an uncomfortable position. You will either have to give them a reason for the grade change, which goes against your grade policy, or you will be lying to them.

If you cannot give a reason for your grade change, then it will be clear that you are making exceptions and this is unfair to everyone else. If you change grades often, then this will be confusing for everyone and there is no way to keep track of what the “official” grade is.

When keeping an assignment sheet or gradebook, you can save yourself a lot of time by keeping track of weights and student goals. This helps you figure out what they need to do in order to accomplish certain things and helps you identify gaps.

Zara Raza is the Head of Marketing at SchoolCues. SchoolCues was founded in 2010, and provides small schools with an all-in-one platform to manage all school administration activities.

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