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Getting Started

Your secretary and/or administrator(s) will have created your subjects and enrolled your students in these subjects on the main administration site. (This information is also needed in order to use the report card system and subject based attendance as well). This must be done first before you can begin. One of the options while creating subjects is whether or not the subject will be 'web-visible' to students (and parents). This can be set on a per subject basis by the school office administrators.

You may then log into the gradebook from the teacher site using your normal teacher userid and password. The duration field is used to set how long you can access the gradebook without having to log in again. If you leave your computer for a while this will make sure that someone else cannot change your student scores and/or assessment items.

Adding Assessment Items

Your screen will initially only list your students in one column with a 0 percent average. Your first step is to add an Assessment Item (i.e. test, assignment). Click on Add Item. You can then fill in descriptions of the item. These are:

  1. Name - this is a relatively short name for the item (10 characters or less) such as 'GenTst' (genetics test) or 'Homewk' (homework). Only 6 will display on the main gradebook screen so you should try to keep it short. Using mixed case without any spaces is definitely recommended. (i.e. FrogQz, Ch4Tst, NapEsy) The description field below is longer for larger descriptions for report purposes. If you hover (place mouse over something and don't move it), you can see all of this information in a small popup window in most web browsers.

  2. Description - a description of the item (Limit 255 characters). This is printed on student mark reports, etc. However, again, it should not be excessively long or verbose. Keep to the point.

  3. Date - the date the item was given to students. It is normally used to define the viewing order of these items. The default will be today. It must be in YYYY-MM-DD format (year, month, day).

  4. Max Raw Score - is the highest possible raw score that a student may achieve. The gradebook only stores the raw score of the student and uses this maximum value (Max Raw Score) to figure out the percentage score (or other method of mark reporting) of each student on each assessment item. Scores of students may exceed this value (ie. greater than 100%) in a bonus mark situation, etc.

  5. Weight - this will be the relative weight of this item within its group. With the default installation, a 5 with a weight multiplier of 1x, is the default weight. Most of the items of any group should have this value. For other less common items, you can give them more or less weight by selecting another number (with a different weight multiplier... 1/2x or 2x, etc.)

  6. Group - When you first add an item, you must add a new group name. The group name is normally a single word like 'test' or 'quiz', although you can have larger group names.

    Items can be members of a group. This will allow adjustments to item weights based on membership in a group. You might have a group called 'Test'. You might decide to have subgroups for this such as 'Test:pop' and 'Test:quiz'. Notice the use of the colon (:) as a separator. In this case you could not have a main group of 'Test', since it has a series of subgroups as well. Do not use subgroups unless they are really required (since they make things more complicated).

    Once you have added some items, existing groups will show in a selection menu box. If you want to add a new group, simply type its name into the input box to the right of this.

Once you have entered an assessment item, you may then click on the Edit button in the row below the appropriate assessment item. Fill in the student scores. A star (asterisk, shift-8 on the keyboard) instead of a number will result in that score not counting for average calculation. Leaving the field blank will have the same effect and the cell will have a darker gray colour. However, a star lets you know that you didn't just miss entering a value. It is explicit. I typically just leave the value out and it displays as a darker gray on the main gradebook page.

The score field can also hold text. This is normally used to indicate missing or incomplete assignments (ie. inc, nhi, miss). All text fields are treated as zero (0) for average calculation purposes and will dramatically lower student averages. The search function can search for these values in all subjects (and other things as well).

You may continue adding assessment items and student scores thoughout the term. Occasionally you may wish to reweight a particular assessment item within it's group. When a reporting period is due, you may Post the student marks into the report card system. Once posted, you will still have to enter comments using the Mark Entry scripts on the teacher site.

This is based on a cumulative evaluation model where evaluation is ongoing throughout the year (ie. The report card second term mark from the gradebook would include all first term marks as well as second term marks). The report card system normally operates in the same cumulative mode (although this can be changed). A term is considered to be a period of time with some sort of evaluation / reporting at the end. A synonym would be 'reporting period'.

If a per term method is desired, there are a couple of approaches:

  1. Delete or Compress the first term assessment items and start again. You can remove items using either the Del/Ed Item button on the main screen or several at a time using Delete/Compress on the Maintenance (Mtce) Menu. Unfortunately, this method throws a lot of work away.

  2. Reweight those first term items to 0 weight. They will then not show up on printed reports or affect the student average. They are still accessible however, and may referred back to later, if required. This can be done using the Weight Item button on the main screen. This can be done quite quickly.

  3. Compress multiple assessment items down to a single item, to make your gradebook more compact. You can then reweight these fewer numbers of items as desired. The compress function is also on the Maintenance (Mtce) menu.

While you are beginning you should also print out some empty mark sheets (on the report (rpt) menu), and use those to record marks/assessments. You may then add several small assessments together and enter that combined mark into the gradebook (to keep the number of assessment items in the gradebook to a manageable level).

The normal data flow would be for marks to go directly into the paper mark sheets as you correct the assessments or conduct the assessment with the student.

You could then add several columns together to get an aggregated mark (if necessary), and then enter this value into the gradebook. The balance between paper based recording and gradebook recording is a teacher decision.

When new students enter your class throughout the year, add a custom sortorder to your views to put the new students at the bottom of your paper mark sheets. This will allow you to keep your paper based forms in sync vertically with your onscreen entry. This will allow easier transfers from the paper recordings to the onscreen entry. The sortorder function is also located on the Maintenance (Mtce) Menu.

Classifying your assessment items into different groups, which you can then view separately, also helps keep things organized (and in smaller groups). This makes it particularly easy to keep your marks in line with the assessment outlines of your courses. New developments will create groups for the gradebook that are tied directly to curricula.

next up previous contents
Next: The Main Screen Top Up: Open Admin for Schools Previous: Design Philosopy