It’s the end of the school year, and that means finishing up grades. In our state, grades aren’t required, but for us they are a necessity (for more on why click here). After longer than I’ll admit, I’ve finally come up with a perfect way to keep grades.
When I first got started, I’d create a grade book for myself by making grid after grid and printing them out. As I graded, I’d fill out the sheet. At the end of the term, I’d grab my calculator and get to work. I’d add up every grade several times, just to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake (I do that a lot). This got to be pretty ridiculous. At the time, we were doing Saxon math, which generates roughly three grades a day, four days a week. At the end of the term, that was an insane amount of grades to add. All that was just for one student, for one subject.
When I finally admired to myself that this was just a bad method, I looked around for grade programs I could use instead. It seemed obvious to make the computer compute the grades. I couldn’t really find anything that I liked, that was free, and that I could use as I needed. I didn’t want to have to boot up my computer just to enter a quick grade, but I didn’t want to have to work off of my smartphone for everything either.
Happily, there was a solution. There was something I could use on the computer or the phone, would calculate for me, was printer friendly, and free (as I already had it) – Microsoft Excel. Before that, I never really had a reason to learn formulas in Excel, so I was a little hesitant. It seemed so difficult. However, with a little Google-foo, I was able to find the formulas I needed, and they turned out to be very easy to use, actually. The rest was just playing with formatting, and making everything look pretty.
I made an Excel book on my computer. This helped me set everything up with a large screen and use of a mouse. Then, I saved the file on my cloud storage, and with the free app, I could open it on my phone to throw grade in at the drop of a hat. I was never too far away from my grade book. When I need to print, I can use my computer to make sure the formatting is perfect (it gets a little weird on my phone sometimes). It’s so wonderful! Why didn’t do this our first year?
Because all good things are worth sharing, I’ve put together an Excel tutorial for anyone else like me, afraid to dive into formulas. The best part is, there are great, free spreadsheet programs out there, so you don’t even need Excel to make this work. I hope this tutorial will help free someone else from the chains of paper grade books or paid grade apps.