The Gradebook easily draws the most questions (and serious concerns) of all the ReggieNet tools. This is because the Gradebook is designed to interact with many of the other available tools – hence, it’s a complicated tool which is easily mishandled. But it’s also an extremely useful tool – keeping our students up-to-date on their academic progress is crucial for maintaining communication and maintaining transparency in assessment. Fortunately, CTLT has put together the following series of videos to help us use the Gradebook more effectively.
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CTLT Video Series – The Gradebook
Following are links to CTLT videos describing how to use tests and quizzes (copied from ReggieNet Instructor Support Materials.)
- Setting up the Gradebook
- Grading in the Gradebook
- Viewing and Grading Assignments
- Importing and Exporting Grades
- Importing Opscan Scores
- Setting up Groups
- Setting up Extended Time Assessments
Notes on FERPA and Online Grading
The best part about online grading is that students can see their grades immediately. Better still, ReggieNet can automatically calculate final grades as you go, so students are aware of their total overall standing in the course. And if you really want to be on top of things, you can set up ReggieNet to automatically transfer your ReggieNet grades to the Registrar.
That said, many instructors prefer to avoid the ReggieNet gradebook. Here’s why:
The Downsides of Online Grading:
- Students who “know” their grade might be less inclined to visit you to ask how they’re doing. A student who see’s 92% in ReggieNet might think “oh, I’m good,” when it reality those absences are going to pull that A- down to a C. Keep this in mind as you encourage students to visit with you individually.
- The ReggieNet gradebook only counts those grades which you put in there. If you average in something else from outside (say, for example, you use ReggieNet to grade regular assignments, but the portfolio is worth 30% of the grade and is submitted separately…) then a student can become confused if the end-of-semester grade from the Registrar doesn’t match the final percentage that shows up in ReggieNet.
- The ReggieNet gradebook is a complicated system. Mistakes happen. You forget to click a few buttons, and entire assignments are left out of your grading. I’ve seen cases where twenty or thirty percent of the graded materials weren’t included in the ReggieNet gradebook. (I may have even caused one of those cases…) So when using the gradebook, Always Check with Your Students to Make Sure They Can See Their Grades.
- The ReggieNet gradebook is the ONLY online gradebook authorized for Illinois State instructors. Although I strongly advocate the classroom use of platforms like Dropbox or Google Docs, it is NOT safe to post grades to these third-party platforms. Although they are secure and encrypted, there is always the chance that you could accidentally “share” the spreadsheet with all your grading – and that would be a HUGE violation of FERPA. (Let me emphasize again with the bold block letters: Online Grading Means ReggieNet ONLY.)
- Many instructors find it’s simply easier to use either Microsoft Excel or a hard-copy gradebook to track and calculate grades. In this case, I recommend removing the Gradebook tool from your ReggieNet course using the Site Editor. (Note: Excel is fine for grading as long as it stays on your computer only. Maybe e-mail it to yourself regularly as a back-up. I wouldn’t, however, save it in a Dropbox folder, and I’d be very careful about backing it up to a thumb drive. But do back it up somewhere.)
(Back to ReggieNet Overview)