Gone are the chalk and blackboard times, gone are bulky paper gradebooks that used to give shivers to teachers and students alike. As electronic gradebooks are gaining popularity in the e-Learning community and schools worldwide, I decided to pull together a list of solutions you could find on the web. Some are free, some are paid. Let’s start with the free alternatives.
LearnBoost is a well-known free online gradebook. LearnBoost also provides lesson planning, attendance and reporting tools.
- Quick entry, good performance. The gradebook responds quickly to score updates and makes instant changes across the whole database.
- Clear statistics. As the gradebook updates in real time, you can view and analyze long- and short- term student accomplishments and plan appropriate improvements.
- Common Core. You can easily apply Common Core State Standards to assignments.
- Grading scale. As a teacher, you can adjust a grading scale to your specific scoring methodology.
- Assignment weights. Assignments differ and so does their impact on overall student assessment. With LearnBoost, teachers can modify assignment weights in the gradebook to make sure resulting grades reflect the real picture.
- Comprehensive functionality. The embedded attendance management, lesson planner and other tools come in as a handy supplement.
- Web 2.0 ready. LearnBoost is integrated with major social sites including Google+, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook.
- Instructor’s portfolio. Feel free to upload and repurpose your courses and lesson plans.
No support for international standards. The software only caters to US-specific requirements.
Aimed at individual teachers as well as schools, LearnBoost is available at no cost. However, the provider plans on introducing a marketplace for paid apps and lesson plans in the near future.
Thinkwave is another free online gradebook to keep track of student grades and report progress to parents.
The software encompasses
- Clear interface. ThinkWave Educator 3.0 comes with an easy-to-use interface that requires no extra training. Multiple classes are managed within a single gradebook, so you don’t have to switch to and fro when navigating.
- Flexible grading options. Teachers are free to use standard points-based grading or opt for letter grades, checks and other custom grading scenarios. Thinkwave also supports assignment weighting and the ability to create custom assignment types.
- Granular reporting. ThinkWave Educator generates streamlined, ready-to-print PDF reports. Reports can be branded with an image logo, header and other bells and whistles, if required.
- Upload content online. ThinkWave allows you to upload homework and handouts on the web (up to 25MB per file). The premium plan includes 100 GB of online storage.
- Collecting homework online. Likewise, students have an opportunity to upload their homework online so the files become immediately available for the teacher’s review.
- Access to grades for students and parents. Personal password-protected accounts enable students and parents to access classroom information. Daily progress summary involves overall performance, graded assignments and upcoming tasks for each student’s assignments.
- Classroom blog. ThinkWave features a built-in blog. Students, teachers and parents can exchange postings and news aimed at particular groups or the general school audience.
- A multitude of reporting criteria and data display styles
- Online distribution and collection of assignments
- Collaboration and communication tools.
- As with LearnBoost, instructors outside the US may have issues adjusting the solution to their needs
- You can’t add students to the database in bulk, just one at a time. A CSV upload option would be nice.
The basic version of the software is free. A premium license available at $49.95 per year entitles you to technical support and 100 GB of storage space. Aside from the gradebook for individual teachers, ThinkWave develops cloud-based school administration software. Feel free to sign up for a 30-day trial and make up your mind.
JumpRope is a free-of-charge web-based platform that helps educators embrace standards-based grading, convenient assessment and quick feedback.
- Standards-based gradebook. All scores and reports in JumpRope are aligned with a standard or learning goal, rather than based on formal assignment completion.
- Intuitive look and feel. The interface is clean and easy to navigate with familiar visual content to estimate student progress in real time.
- Elaborate reporting. JumpRope generates multiple types of reports – from a basic report card to a formative outline focusing on standards and perspectives.
- Assessments based on multiple scores. Like other online grading programs, JumpRope introduces various evaluation criteria so the teacher can get a better picture of one’s performance. For every assessment, you can enter more than one score, collect information and provide more accurate feedback.
- Customizable grades. The teacher can play with various assessment values, such as percentages, rubric scale, or more complex indicators such as meeting or exceeding certain indicators.
- Informative tutorials on creating classes and standards
- Nice look and feel, neat layout and clear overview of evolving grades
- Good attendance section to ensure easy tracking.
- The site runs on Adobe Flash, which means it’s not supported by major tablets. JumpRope offers a native app for download but it only covers the administrative part of the solution.
- JumpRope allows no student/parent access and falls behind on collaboration features offered by the competition
- The grading policy is standards-based by default, and there is no way you can switch to regular grades.
JumpRope offers solutions for instructors, schools and districts. Whereas it’s free for teachers, institutions pay their fees for product use and maintenance.
First in our paid category is GradeBookWizard, another feature-packed online gradebook and attendance control solution for teachers. Same as with other products in this domain, educators can use GradeBookWizard to release instructions, assignments, grades, news, handouts and information for parents. All these can be accessed via secure logins.
At the institution level, GradeBookWizard enables standardization of grading criteria across classes. Student records are stored in a centralized location, so any changes are applied automatically to the entire database. Grades can be exported in various file formats for better compatibility.
In a nutshell, Gradebookwizard offers the following functionality:
- Entirely web-based, no software installation required
- Secure login and authentication for all user groups
- Tabular-format grading, resembling the familiar paper-based gradebook
- Simultaneous grading of several homework assignments
- Full support for rubrics; scales and rubrics can be shared with other educators
- Personal grades can be published for students and parents to review.
- 30-day free trial and moderate pricing
- Convenient student and parent access to track performance
- Easy exporting of data for offline reporting
- Handy attendance and behavior logs.
- Slightly awkward look and feel
- Some users have reported performance issues.
License costs start at $4.95 per month/teacher or $49 per year/teacher. Significant discounts apply to school-wide subscriptions.
Engrade (by McGraw-Hill Education) is a comprehensive e-Learning solution that encompasses learning management and assessment systems. The two core modules are Engrade Instruct – for managing online curricula and interactive learning, and Engrade Inform – for delivering web-based assessments along with granular analytics.
Engrade delivers way beyond a standard gradebook. It offers the ability to tailor assessment categories to individual needs, and employ easy attendance tracking and lesson planning.
Key gradebook features include:
- Straightforward interface and real-time grading
- Allocating different weights to different assignments
- Online collection of homework papers and assignment distribution
- Personal accounts for students and parents
- Convenient rubric builder (in the Pro version)
- An enhanced repository to archive and retrieve previously used content (in the Pro version).
- A wealth of options to keep track of mastery, store teacher feedback and comments, develop web-based seating plans, etc.
- Engrade includes apps for building engaging quizzes, wikis and flashcards for learners.
Engrade is a highly scalable solution, yet it may cause some issues on older browsers and OSs, so make sure to check your environment for compatibility.
The tool is shipped in a free basic edition for individual educators. However, the EngradePlus option, priced at $600/year for 100 students, broadens the functionality and scales up the system for institutions.
Schoology is a globally acknowledged LMS and social network. Having a somewhat Facebookish interface, Schoology is intuitively navigable and intelligible. Technology-wise, the solution includes pretty much everything the e-Learning industry has to offer: collaborative blended learning, content development and distribution, grading, attendance and more to cut down on administrative tasks.
Schoology offers a clean interface for grading and annotation of student work. The grading tool allows teachers to access students’ papers, switch between different versions and submissions, provide textual or video response, and store grades in the system.
As with all major gradebooks, score updates are performed instantly and automatically. Students and parents can easily gain access to a Schoology class, i.e. self-enroll, by entering an access code. Once they are in, the results are readily available for review.
The course analytics and mastery reports measure learners’ overall progress against standards (Common Core, NGSS, etc.) or predefined learning goals.
Needless to say, Schoology is not just one of many free gradebooks for teachers but an all-around learning framework, including:
- Instructor tools. Standards-compliant course creation and management features as well as all-round analytics.
- International learning community. An impressive database of resources, best practices and guidelines from skilled instructors from all over the world. Schoology’s Resource Center and Groups allow educators to communicate with peers and share professional experiences.
- Detailed analytics. Performance-based analytics provide insights into overall class progress and possible ways of improvement.
- Mobile support. Schoology offers native mobile apps that replicate the functionality of the web-based versions.
- Online circulation and collection of assignments
- Embedded attendance tracker
- Unlike some competitors, Schoology caters to a wider geography and incudes customization options for schools outside the US and Canada
- Students need to self-enroll so teachers can keep track of their performance. This may cause certain hiccups before the process gets on the right track.
K12 and higher ed aside, Schoology also targets big corporate clients. The paid enterprise package enables web-conferencing, unlimited data storage and other nifty Pro features. Feel free to contact Schoology for a quote.
7. Jupiter Ed
Jupiter iO is a comprehensive cloud-hosted product focused on improving students’ academic accomplishments and operating K-12 and higher education institutions more efficiently. The software allows you to assess students online, review results, track progress in real time, and communicate information to parents and other stakeholders.
The gradebook module enables the teacher to record standards-based assessments, manage attendance and maintain behavior logs, as well as grade assignments based on rubrics.
Students and parents have access to the system with the rights to check grades, submit homework, download content and receive announcements.
Jupiter iO channels data through its proprietary SIS (student information system) and integrates easily with third-party solutions to sync up students, courses, personnel, etc.
Key features of the Jupiter gradebook include:
- Create your own rubric charts and share with peers
- Customizable letter/numeric grades
- Scores marked as points, percentages, rubrics or even adjustments
- Assignment weighting
- Multiple insights into performance fluctuations (grades lowering/raising stats, etc.)
- Different grade configurations for different classes, etc.
- Easy access for students and parents
- Online submission of homework
- Nifty mark-up of writing assignments
- Grades monitoring with the capability of quick intervention.
- It’s not easy to switch from standards-based to regular grades
- Cloud storage may be an issue for security-concerned schools.
The Jupiter software is available in two editions: Jupiter One – $49.95/year per single teacher, and Jupiter iO – $8 per student/year.
TeacherPlus Web Gradebook by Rediker is another paid online gradebook designed for schools using Rediker’s AdminPlus SIS. Teachers are free to access their gradebooks any time from a large number of supported devices. TeacherPlus offers native iPad and Android apps for seamless mobile operations.
- Caters to elementary, middle and high schools
- Real-time dashboards, clear view of each student’s performance
- Weighted scores and automatic calculations
- Grades are available to parents online through the ParentPlus portal
- Intuitive interface, convenient filters, batch options
- Versatile reports, including progress layout, average indicators, birthday lists, etc.
- IEP Direct Interface that allows teachers to view individual education plans right in TeacherPlus Gradebook (for an extra fee)
- Attendance tracking and reporting by day/week/month, etc.
- Gradebook Management Site – a single location where administrators can manage, customize and analyze all gradebooks at the institution level.
- Easy to learn for new instructors, no steep learning curve
- Optimized user experience, smart interface
- Granular reports based on a wealth of criteria.
- Some users have reported performance issues when entering grades
- Limited views so just a few students remain in focus
- Limited availability of mass operations/global changes
- Works with proprietary AdminPlus Student Information System only.
TeacherPlus comes as a free add-on, yet Administrator Plus pricing may range widely based on the particular school and plan. Check with Rediker and see if you are on the same page.
Edmodo is a first-rate social e-Learning platform that connects students, teachers, parents, districts, and schools. Edmodo offers a friendly environment for knowledge transfer, enabling teachers to keep up online discussion, polls, gamification and motivation schemes, behavior performance, etc.
Like with other big suites, Gradebook is just one of the features. The functionality includes:
- An intuitive student interface, reminiscent of social networks
- Easy sharing of worksheets or handouts
- Web-based distribution and grading of assignments with nifty annotation tools
- Assignments with a due date and convenient task sheets
- Mobile support, easy annotating from tablet devices
- Engaging quizzes with a plethora of choices and options
- Student exit slips (“one thing I learned today”) available with Edmodo’s Note feature
- Smart document storage with dedicated sharable folders
- Social-network stance that helps engage with students in an instructor-managed environment.
- Online submission and collection of assignments
- A marketplace for free and paid apps to supplement Edmodo’s functionality
- Teachers can easily interact with their colleagues using Edmondo’s collaboration tools.
- Instructors outside English-speaking countries don’t have access to free apps
- The teacher has to wait until students enroll to access the gradebook
- Likewise, learners have to self-enroll using a code before they can start off with assignments
Edmodo is distributed on a freemium basis. Extra services entail the cost of $2,500 per school per year.
Alma is all-in-one cloud software that boasts to streamline the whole learning process from grade reporting to lesson planning and school-wide communication. Basically, a SIS and LMS rolled into one.
Like other reviewed solutions, the Alma gradebook can calculate grades based on teacher-defined weights. Instructors can enter grades as scores or percentages, or use a grading scale.
This standards-based electronic gradebook enables teachers to gauge students’ mastery, track their progress on specific subjects, and monitor overall performance throughout the course.
- Cloud-based, no software installation required
- Nice collaboration tools, easy communication between all stakeholders
- Full interoperability with Google Classroom
- No transparent licensing policy
- You have to additionally request a demo and quote.
The Alma pricing plans include Base Package, Lower School, Upper School and Districts. The quote would depend on institution size and required modules.
I hope this list of free and paid online grading programs was helpful. The products above are all different: some are standalone online gradebooks, others are e-Learning suites that cover most aspects of the education process, including content authoring and learning management. Define your goals and budget, and go for a product that supports your local standards and, ultimately, makes your life easier.
As always, I conclude the blog posting with a tiny survey.