ActiveGrade servers will be shut down on January 3, 2017. See our blog post for more information.
How is ActiveGrade Different?
Focus on Knowledge
This is Sue. In Sue's Language Arts class this semester she is learning how to write a research paper. Under the old model, Sue would likely write this paper, turn the assignment in, and receive a grade for how well the paper was written--end of story.
With the ActiveGrade approach, her teacher has defined the goals for writing a research paper which include things like “creating an extended outline,” “writing a cohesive conclusion,” and “citing references.” As Sue works on her paper, her teacher reviews the work in progress and gives feedback to Sue in the different goals areas, recording the results in ActiveGrade. As the project progresses, this allows Sue and her parents to check in and see what research paper writing skills Sue needs to sharpen to show that she has learned how to write a research paper.
By focusing on the knowledge needed to write a research paper, Sue, her teacher, her parents, and her school get an accurate representation of what she has learned in her Language Arts class, not simply how she scored on an assignment.
Grades with Meaning
If the purpose of school is learning, simply telling a student they earned a “C” at the end of the semester is hardly an accurate reflection of what a student has learned. ActiveGrade uses grades as feedback to reflect a students progress in the key skills and concepts required in a class.
Take Mike for example. Mike's second semester of Spanish class is going pretty well and he's learned a lot of new vocabulary but his current grade is a C because he struggled with conjugating verbs on his midterm exam. Mike may understand that he needs to work on conjugating verbs, but even with a high score on the final exam he may not be able to raise his “C” to an “A.” Or worse yet, his teacher may have moved on from simple verb conjugation to irregular verbs and Mike would have no opportunity to demonstrate his understanding of the initial concept.
With the ActiveGrade approach, Mike's teacher would work with him to identify that it's the future tense causing Mike's difficulties, and after Mike clearly demonstrates an improvement in and understanding of this practice, the intelligent calculation done by ActiveGrade can reflect that achievement in Mike's final grade, despite Mike's initial struggle on the midterm.
Mike's final grade becomes a reflection of the core skills and concepts he's learned in Spanish class, not simply an average of how he scored on the tests and assignments given.
Think about how a typical gradebook is structured. Looking at your class scores, you might be able to see that a number of your students clearly struggled on exam #2, or that Mei is clearly struggling with nearly all of her assignments, but does it tell you why?
With ActiveGrade, your gradebook is structured into the key concepts or skills and the scores indicate student mastery in those areas, giving teachers a better understanding what specifically needs to be addressed for the entire class, or an individual student.
Take Mr. Lee for example. Mr. Lee's most recent Algebra quiz covered solving two-step equations with integers, fractions, and decimals. After entering scores in ActiveGrade it becomes apparent in the gradebook view that a small subsection of the class underperformed on the fractions portion. Mr. Lee decides the following day to break the students into small groups to review the fraction portion, and deliberately groups some higher performers with some lower performers to practice together.
ActiveGrade's unique interface can help you understand where to tailor your instruction to the strengths and weaknesses of individual students or for the entire class.
In being able to see which standards my students struggle with, I'm able to listen more carefully and actively to learn why they have trouble with those skills.
ActiveGrade allows me a fluidity of tracking student performance on course standards. I would have to fight a more traditional gradebook to track assessment in a similar fashion.
My students love the ability to track their progress in mastering the standards/objectives. In addition, my comments point to immediate action required for improvement.
What is Standards-Based Grading Anyway?
So, How Do I Use ActiveGrade?
Manage Classes and Students
Innovative standards-based gradebook layout reveals where individual students are struggling or where a concept might not be getting through to the entire class.
Organize your classroom into specific learning goals (known as standards) which are concepts or skills a student must master before moving on. Create your own or input common core standards.
Define Grading Policies
That a student has mastered a concept is all that matters, and her final grade should reflect that. ActiveGrade's responsive and customizable grading policies ensure an accurate picture of knowledge.
Record assessment results and personalized feedback for multiple students over multiple standards at once, or for an individual student in an individual standard with ease.
ActiveGrade Has Been Featured In
Want to use standards-based grading in your
department, school, or district?
ActiveGrade is now a part of Haiku Learning, a full suite of beautiful, cloud-based learning tools built for schools. In addition to standards-based grading Haiku Learning offers the ability to:
- Set up classroom websites with interactive content
- Create assignments, assessments, and group projects
- Hand-in, annotate, and return student's homework
- Securely communicate online with students
- Integrate with student information systems
- and much much more...