Yesterday was interim day, so I opened up Google Classroom and went in to grade any assignments that I may have missed or that were recently submitted. To my surprise, there was a new tab at the top of my Google Classroom called “Grades.”
Obviously, I stopped any thought of grading and went into the new tab to see what was there. And what I found really excited me. It’s a “full-on” gradebook for Google Classroom. This has been something that people have been asking for for a long time so lets break it down.
To being with you are greeted to a grid that has all of your students down the left side and all of the assignments across the top. Below each assignment you and view the class average (number 1). Under there you can view each grade and quickly identify missing, late, or work that needs to be graded (numbers 2 and 3). It’s very easy to get an overview of your whole class or the individual student. If you click on the student’s name you will be taken to a grade sheet of just their activity. Neat.
One of the things that I really like is on the “snowman” menu (the three dots) next to each assignment you can quickly edit or delete the assignment as well as return all submissions.
Google didn’t leave it there, they also allow you to create weighted categories for the assignments. To do this you have to go to the setting icon on the top right.
Once inside of there you will see a Gradebook option at the bottom of the settings pop-up. It will look like this:
In the overall grade calculation drop down you are given three choices. No overall grade is the default one. Total points uses the assignment points and does the math for you. And the weighted by category allows you to have assignments setup according to your grading system. In my classroom, my student’s grades are based on 65% formative and 35% summative. If you gave a homework grade this could also be added in.
To setup a category you can add a category at the bottom of the settings menu. From there you give the item a name and a percentage. Google will let you know how much you have left until you reach 100% of your grade.
To have the categories work properly you need to assign a category into each one of your assignments. Just edit the assignment and you will see that the options inside have changed a bit as show below:
While I don’t think that many schools will be using the Google Gradebook exclusively there are some spots that I could see it being very beneficial. The first thing that jumps out to me is that you could easily use this for a project checker. Each set of the project could be a category and the students would get their final grade on the project after each step is completed. You could also use it for writing a paper or something else that is on a longer timeline than daily assignments.
For me, I will be using it to create a classroom for all of my students. They work on a single project across multiple class and they will be able to more easily see where they are at in the project.
What Needs Work?
For this to become really useful it needs on major addition, marking periods/terms. In order to make this gradebook really usable, there needs to be a way to put assignment not just in categories, but into marking periods. At the admin level they could set the beginning and end dates of the marking periods per the school calendar, and then allow the categories and assignments automatically be placed into the correct areas based on due dates.
There also needs to be an export so that people using other gradebooks (everyone right?) can import grades easily. If that can’t happen or there’s not a way to sync the Google Classroom gradebook to that SIS (student information system) then it’s a lot less useful and doesn’t save time as you have to manually transfer grades from one system to another.
I’m beyond thrilled by this update. It is something that I have been wanting/asking for since the beginning of Google Classroom. I’m thankful that Google has committed to improving the platform and that they have been responsive to teacher feedback.