Thursday, January 7, 2010

Teacher Gradebooks: Engrade Canada

This post is to update my readers about teacher gradebooks. In a previous blog post I shared information about Engrade the FREE online gradebook.

The highlight at this time is that Engrade now has a Canadian version.  As stated on their site, “Engrade.ca is hosted on Canadian web servers to comply with Canadian laws concerning government data storage.”  This is great news for Canadian educators who need to be sensitive to FIPPA regulations (BC version).

Engrade’s advantage over other gradebooks is that it FREE and is fully online.  In other words, there is no saving files and moving them between computers, simply login and update the gradebook.  This is also a weakness, we had an instance last year when Engrade was temporarily unavailable during a reporting period.  There is an ‘export to excel’ option that I recommend that teachers do weekly.

A real highlight of Engrade is that each student gets a personal login to view only their assignment marks rather than the entire class spreadsheet.  Anytime a teacher makes a change to an assignment, the students automatically sees the update.  It is also possible to include notes, comments and attendance.

Not to discount other great teacher gradebook software, MasterGrade is a great product that is a locally installed software (Windows and Mac).  The benefit of a local install is that it ensures that the teacher has full control of the data file for backup and working between multiple home/work computers.  This is also a disadvantage as many teachers doing have the access to install software on district computers leaving them to wait for their support staff. Mastergrade is very affordable (not free thought) and works with BCeSIS classlists.  It also has a feature to import the student photos from the school database so that teachers can have seating plans.

Here is a two-page handout that you can share with teachers looking for a ‘getting started’ guide.  I’ve posted the PDF to ensure compatibility and a Word document if you want to tweak.  Would appreciate leaving my name and link to this blog on the document.

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