The job of a teacher doesn’t limit with teaching the students in a classroom. It is also the responsibility of the teachers to closely monitor the students in certain aspects and assess them. It is a keen responsibility of a teacher to monitor a certain number of aspects and rank/grade the students relatively. Preparing a gradebook for an entire class is quite tedious as it is difficult to figure out the due dates, students, and to accurately locate certain assignments.
Gone are the days of attending classes, using blackboard and carrying bulky notebooks and flipping through the pages of gradebooks that used to shiver the minds of teachers and students. Generally, grading isn’t something fun, but it has never been so easy and teacher-friendly. Electronic gradebooks are gaining popularity among the online learning community these days. Well, this blog gives detailed information about online gradebooks for a full-fledged learning management system.
What is an online gradebook?
An online gradebook, also known as electronic gradebook, is a teacher’s online record of their students’ assignments, lessons, grades, and progress. A gradebook software automates grade tracking, performance assessment of the students, monitoring the attendance of students, and easy access to synchronised data for teachers, principals and school administrators and even parents.
An online gradebook is easy to use with flexible grading and allows access to students, parents, and school administers. A good gradebook software makes it easier to record in and use efficiently.
7 best gradebook tools for teachers
This tool can be said as almost an all-in-one tool for online education. Gradebook is one of the many features of this tool. Edmodo is an education software company acting as a communication platform between school students and teachers. The software has an intuitive interface and also reminiscent of Facebook, Twitter resulting in student engagement. Edmodo is also a friendly platform for knowledge transfer, enables teachers to keep online discussions, polls and keeps track of the behaviour performance of the students, etc.
- The core features of this application includes easy sharing of worksheets, web-based distribution and grading of assignments, provided with mobile support, storing the documents, engaging in quizzes, etc.
- The application is also a marketplace to install other free and paid apps to supplement Edmodo’s functionality
- But the gradebooks cannot be accessed until the students are enrolled
- Teachers outside the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Canada cannot access free apps
Pricing: The tool for student and classroom management is free. Installation of other applications entails the cost of USD 2,500 per year for a school.
Thinkwave is one of the free online gradebooks to keep track of the grades of the students and report progress to parents. The software has created an in-house tool to create customs reports such as transcripts, progress & attendance reports, report cards and more. This functionality is definitely useful to all the customers. Thinkwave is one of the best grading software for teachers.
- No prior training is required to access Thinkwave and multiple classes are managed in a single gradebook, which is definitely an easy-to-use interface
- The blog feature of the software helps the students and parents to exchange postings and news aimed at general school audience
- The daily progress summary which involves the overall and sectional performances and upcoming tasks for students assignments are well informed to parents enabling parents to access classroom information providing password-protected accounts
- Students can also upload their assignments so the files become visible to the teacher’s view
- The software also enables us to upload homework and handouts on the web (up to 25mb per file). The storage capacity extends to 100 GB but it is a part of premium plan
Pricing: The basic version is a free online gradebook for homeschool. The premium plan has multiple options in different categories starting from USD 12.5 per month to USD 250 per month. The difference in pricing is based on access to the number of students.
Engrade, a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill Education, is an e-learning solution that provides online learning management systems and educational assessment products. This solution encompasses two modules – engrade instruct for managing online curriculum & interactive learning and engrade inform for delivering web-based assessments. The software provides a wide range of features other than a gradebook. The solution offers the ability to tailor assessment categories and to employ easy lesson planning and attendance planning.
- Real-time grading and straightforward interface, providing personal accounts for students and parents, allocation of different weightage to different students and online collection of assignments are some of the highlighting features of the software
- It is also provided with a database respiratory to store and retrieve previous assignments and lessons, a part of the premium version
Pricing: The software is free for individual teachers. The pricing of the software for collective usage is customised as per the requirements. Schools and institutions are encouraged to contact the Engrade team directly to enquire about the quotes.
Fact: Engrade ranks in the top 5000 US websites as of March 2015.
Schoology, like other gradebook tools we have seen earlier, is a tool where the features are far beyond the usage of gradebooks. Schoology is one of the free online gradebooks but only limited to basic versions accessible by students, teachers and parents. The tool is a social networking service and a virtual learning environment for school and higher education institutions. Online classes can also be managed based on the tools provided by cloud-based software. This type of software is also known as a learning management system that allows users to create, manage and share academic content.
- A teacher can comment and grade an assignment without having to download and then upload the grade version
- The software tends to be a platform to encourage and motivate the students by allowing the teachers to create customised badges as trophies for their achievements
- The software also allows the teachers to create a variety of assignments and to effectively use the calendars ensuring communication for all
- While online gradebooks, attendance, customised grading options, user connections to personal systems, test and quizzes are the other features of the free version
- Whereas, the paid version is an addition of other few features that are web conferencing, unlimited data storage, audio/video recording, priority support, etc.
Pricing: The basic version is a free online gradebook for homeschool. The pricing for the premium version is customised as per the requirements. Schools and institutions are encouraged to contact the Schoology team directly to enquire about the quotes.
Alma is a cloud-based management system catering to the education industry and businesses. The software is comprehensive enough that claims to streamline the whole learning process including grade reporting, board-wide communication, lesson planning and more. The software is a combination of both student information system (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS). Like other gradebook software, Alma can calculate based on terms defined by the teachers. Teachers, as per their system, can enter the percentages or grades or scores or use a grade scale.
- The core features assist users to generate customised reports, administer the enrolment, admissions process, track commissions and manage school administration
- The solution also lets the users to broadcast emergency notifications and to track the progress of the syllabus
- The solution provides attendance tracking, gradebook customisation, individual student profile which can also be accessed by teachers and parents to track the student attendance, performance and teacher notes
- Customisation of the syllabus, automating lesson mapping with the school calendar, allowing the educational institutes to communicate with staff, parents and students are the other features of this software.
Pricing: The pricing plan for individual schools is based on three-tiered packages and the pricing is tailored for districts. Ultimately, the pricing depends on institution size and required features.
Markbook is a class management system that is helpful in many aspects including student recordkeeping and reporting. The solution is available in two versions – paid offline version for windows and cloud-based versions working on both the windows and macOS available only on an annual subscription basis.
- The system offers multiple communication formats – hardcopy, email and to send reports using the Markbook connect feature to smart devices
- The software is user friendly which allows the students to easily create individual and class reports where the teachers can track and analyse student performance
- Teachers can also exercise flexible weighting which helps in evaluating and creating a better projection of student success.
- The solution is helpful in the analysis part as it is easy to handle the charts, analysis, optimise seating charts with photos and analysis
- Class rosters can be imported from selected school information systems. Attendance can be recorded and analysed whenever necessary
- The teacher can adjust the grades of the individual using the option ‘informed professional judgment’
Pricing: Markbook offers a free trial that can be easily converted to a paid version. The one-year subscription price for an individual seat is USD 35.95 for windows, macOS, and other browsers.
The software is a cloud-based product focussed on improving to accomplish the academic tasks of the students. Jupiter Ed, a comprehensive product, is a Learning Management System (LMS) and Student Information System (SIS). The solution offers four different modules – higher Ed, K-12 public, K-12 private and individual teachers with few variations for each solution. Though the feature of the gradebook remains the same for all the modules of the software. JupiterEd is one of the best grading software for teachers.
- The software allows the teachers to assess students online, review the results and track the performance of the students in real-time
- The gradebook module enables the teachers to record attendance, prepare behaviour logs, assess grades, and record standard-based assessments
- Students and parents have the right to access and check the grades, receive the announcement, upload home assignments and download the relevant content documents
- Own rubric charts can be created and shared with their peers. Grades configuration for different classes, allocating assignment weightage, adjustments in marking (points, percentage) are the other key features of the software is specific to the online gradebook.
Pricing: There are two versions in the pricing of the software which is based on the number of participants. Up to 50 students the yearly charges for Jupiter io Prime (includes LMS, SIS, online enrolment and online payments) are USD 1400 per year. The charges for Jupiter io Standard (includes only LMS and SIS) is USD 400 per year. If the number of students exceed 50, the cost for Jupiter io Prime is USD 28 per person per year and for Jupiter io Standard is USD 8 per person per year.
Pros and cons of computerised grade reports
Online gradebooks can be an advantage and at the same time, a burden as well. The advantages and disadvantages of using online gradebook are as follows
- Maintaining a record of the past test events and grades is a plus while using a gradebook. Maintaining an online gradebook is easy if compared to a hardcopy of books. Different keywords can be used to retrieve a document or a record.
- Comparison and computing is simpler and easier compared to a conventional hardcopy. The manual method of assessment is prone to errors whereas these errors are completely eliminated using a computerised gradebook.
- Online gradebooks are completely transparent as the parents are provided with access to the solutions to track the performance of the students in real-time. Parent-teacher communication is much efficient and convenient in online platforms to get to know about student behaviour. All the information of the students can be obtained in a click of a button
- Documents also tend to get missed or misplaced and pace constraints are also prevalent in a classroom. As most of the online gradebooks are cloud-based, there is no bit of shiver to retrieve a document. There is no need for physical storage space.
- While conventional grading and assessment go hand-in-hand for a particular teacher, this is not the case of online grading. There is a very few online gradebook software offered without any charges, while most of the software charge cost to operate it.
- Technologies are always prone to technical glitches and an online gradebook isn’t an exception. Server down, technical errors and reminders to update software may be some factors that put teachers off from using it. Teachers also need to be cautious to save the document instantly to prevent the loss of their work.
- If a teacher is not comfortable and unskilled about the technology upgrades, it is definitely going to be difficult for the teacher to use it effectively. A certain amount of digital skill is required to use these tools.
- Security features are important when choosing to work with an online solution. Effective security features is a must to prevent from hacking threats. This is something common these days that we may face using an online tool.
1. What is an online gradebook?
A: An online gradebook is a teacher’s online record of their students’ assignments, lessons, grades and progress.
2. What are the best online gradebooks for teachers?
A: Engrade, Jupiter Ed, Thinkwave, Markbook, Edmodo, Alma, and Schoology are the best online gradebooks for teachers.
3. What are the best free gradebooks?
A: Thinkwave and Schoology’s basic version is the best free gradebooks suitable to be accessed by students and teachers.
4. What are the pros and cons of online gradebooks?
A: Recording and retrieval of data, ensuring transparency with parents, and cloud-based storage are some of the advantages of online gradebooks. While technical glitches, knowledge of technical know-how, and data security threats are some of the disadvantages of using online gradebooks.