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Grading Software: Sorting Through the Choices

Note: The programs mentioned in this article have not been reviewed or tested by Education World. They simply represent some of the most popular programs available at the time the article was written. Be sure to carefully examine each program's features and functionality yourself before determining which program best meets your needs.

You've been toying with the idea of putting your students' grades online, but you haven't a clue which software to use. You're finally ready to keep your grade book on the computer, but the software choices have you stumped. This week, Education World writer Sherril Steele-Carlin weeds through the grading software choices so you don't have to! Included: Links to the best grading software online -- and tips for choosing the right software to meet your needs!

Grading software has been around for several years. The early programs were uncomplicated databases, with a student's name, a place for grades, and simple calculators to figure test scores and averages. Today, software has become much easier to use and more sophisticated. The software links below will get you started on your own computerized revolution!

WINDOWS SOFTWARE

If you're using a personal computer with Windows, the following software has been developed for your computer system.

  • 1st Class Grade Book This program was developed "by teachers for teachers." You can download a free trial copy to try out before spending money on the program. The program even offers a version in Chinese!
  • AutoGrade This easy-to-learn program stores information for up to ten classes with 50 students each. You can send e-mail progress reports directly from the program. Download a free trial from the site, and view a sample program screen.
  • Class Action Gradebook You can use a "wizard" to help set up this grade book! The software calculates grading curves and drops low scores. You can print reports in English or Spanish!
  • ClassBuilder This free program is a grade book, a lesson planner, and a lot more. Teachers can create tests, assignments, reports, and a calendar with this program. Interested teachers can view sample screens at the Web site too.
  • Class Mate Grading Tools This software received a five-star rating from ZDNet. Organize seating charts and choose from many grading options -- including dropping a grade, assignment point weighting, and weighting grades. Teachers can view sample reports and download the program online.
  • ClassRoom Portals Teachers can download a free version of this program or buy the "pro" version, which costs $19.95 to register. Two teachers who wanted an online grade book that looked like a regular grade book developed the program. They developed a "wizard" to lead users through the process of creating class records. The Web site provides samples of all the screens, so teachers can see what the screens will look like on their computers.
  • Excel-lent Gradebook For teachers who already keep grades in Microsoft Excel but would like more features, this program offers a good option. It runs inside Excel, so those files are compatible. Teachers can e-mail grades to students and parents.
  • E-Z Grader E-Z Grader offers several different software packages for different grading options. One software option lets teachers keep grades and create lesson plans with the same package. A Spanish version is also available.
  • Grade Genie! If you are running Windows 98 or Windows NT, Grade Genie! is designed specifically for you. Using this program, you can cut and paste grades from a database or a spreadsheet. If you keep grades in a spreadsheet now, this software can save a lot of re-entering.
  • MyGradebook.com This free grading software allows parents to check their children's grades through a secure online site. Teachers can also e-mail parents about their children's progress.
  • Online School Reports.com Instead of keeping grades on their computers, teachers can register with this service and keep them online. Students and parents have limited access to grades at any time.
  • VAR Grade VARed Software offers two versions of grading software, one for Windows 3.1 and the other for Windows 95, 98, 2000, or NT. The number of records teachers can keep is just about unlimited. The program recognizes database records and is Internet-enabled.

SOFTWARE FOR MACS AND PCS

Do you use a Macintosh or an Apple system? If so, check out this list of software that works with both Windows and Macs.

  • Gradekeeper This program is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Palm OS, and Pocket PC. You can track a student's absences, missing assignments, and day-to-day grades with this program. The inexpensive program is easy to use and set up. Its grade sheet format will seem familiar to most teachers.
  • Grade Machine Teachers who are interested in posting grades online can do so with Grade Machine. They can also scan grades or other information into the program. Users can subscribe to a newsletter to keep abreast of the latest versions and to receive valuable tips and tricks for using the program most effectively. Grade Machine is available for Macs and PCs.
  • The Pretty Good Grading Program (PGGP) Developed by a teacher, this is a simple program developed especially for elementary school teachers. It can be used for PCs or for Macs.

Now, your only problem with computerized grading may be having too many choices! Look at the Web sites, figure out which features you want, and do a little homework. Soon you'll be able to download the software of your dreams!

Related Articles from Education World

Article By Sherril Steele-Carlin
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

06/07/2000
Links Updated 10/17/2005

 

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