Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stupid Grade Book Tricks using Easy Grade Pro

I started the year using Makin the Grade as my grading program. Our district has a site license so I invested in the OS X platform version and began using it. In the past, I have always created my own grade books using Excel. I'd merge these into our report cards which were in MS Word. This worked better than what teachers had been doing before, but the spreadsheets always became complex enough that they had trouble merging correctly. We figured out tedious work arounds, and it was still quicker than working by hand, but it wasn't ideal.

My district uses an online report card system. Merging grades into it from Excel or any other program isn't an option, so I decided to use Makin the Grade. I tried it for a term, but it didn't fit me well and my middle-age eyes found it difficult to track across the screen.

A friend and colleague was also questioning whether it was the best program for him to use, so he did some research and settled on Easy Grade Pro. It has suited my work style and been much easier for me to read and to locate information.

All worked fine until yesterday when I printed out Almost End of the Term grade slips to help my students track their progress. Normally I print a summary of each category at the top and then include an itemized list of all missing assignments at the bottom. This time, the summary at the top would list X number of missing assignments, but then there would be nothing listed in the itemized section. I hadn't noticed this discrepancy, but a few of my astute students did.

It took me a while to track down the problem. In the assignment set up window, one of the settings had somehow been changed so that the assignments were supposed to be included in the scoring but excluded from reports. I have no memory of toggling on that setting, but once on, all new assignments carry that attribute until you choose a new one. Normally this is a useful feature-- as long as you are awake enough to notice what you are doing. Fortunately, my furniture ships to Singapore on the 31st. Hopefully after that I'll be a bit more aware of what I'm doing on the job.

There. That's probably far more than you wanted to know, but hopefully of use to someone.