I was looking back at my previous posts and noticed I hadn’t talked explicitly about how I keep track of grades for assessments, only about how I use Python and Excel to make my life easier. I used to include learning objective numbers along with each problem so I could write scores on the sheet but I found that was a problem because (1) I’d have to go back through each assessment and copy the scores to my grade book and (2) students would memorize which skill corresponded with each learning objective which made it much easier for them to solve problems.
My solution was to remove any reference to the learning objectives from the assessment and to enter scores directly into Excel. Each assessment has its own workbook and each student has a single worksheet within that workbook. As I grade each assessment, I type the scores directly into the Excel workbook for each student. Any comments that require me to highlight a part of their work is written on the original assessment, but general comments about their work is put into the Excel spreadsheet next to their scores. Additionally, if there are comments that apply to the whole class, I have Excel cells linked to a master spreadsheet that allow me to type those comments once and have them appear on each student’s grade sheet. Once I’ve graded all of the assessments I print out the Excel workbook and staple the grade sheets to each assessment.
The benefit of this system is that I’ve reduced the number of grading errors to almost zero, that I now have a record of what each student got on each assessment, and that I have a list of the comments I made to the students to reference later.
My only concern with this setup is that having the scores on a separate page from the problem may be an additional barrier to students. Based on anecdotal evidence this doesn’t seem to be an issue (the second I hand back assessments I see students flipping through the pages to see which problems they got proficient marks for) but I must remind myself that the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.
The other component to my grading system is using Python along with Excel to copy all of the scores from the student worksheets to a master Excel spreadsheet (see the previously mentioned post on using Excel and Python together). If anyone needs help setting this up I am more than happy to help troubleshoot.
I’ve attached a copy of a blank assessment workbook, which you are more than welcome to copy and use. Let me know if you try it out: Sample Blank Assessment Gradebook