@gradeable – An Honest Assessment – updated #July2014Challenge

#mtbos30 Day 10 (posted on Day 11)

Update:  Within an hour of my post I received an email from the head of product design and development at Gradeable. It is great to have a company that is so responsive and willing to work with users! If given permission I will post parts of the email. I will add some notes to some of my thoughts below.

In this post, I mentioned that I wanted to find a way to go digital in keeping student work, and finding an easy way to manage the documents of all 110 or so students I will have. I want to do this in order to have students keep their assessments and make corrections right away, and for me to have a digital portfolio of all student work throughout the year.

Enter @gradeable. From what I can tell, Gradeable is a relatively new startup (a year old?) that seeks to make grading and giving feedback on assessments easier for teachers. This is a review from working through this site in one day, I know it is not a full review of using it for awhile, but I found that if the barrier is to high, or the software too clunky, it won’t be worth my time struggling with in the heat of the school year. Software like this needs to work nearly 100% of the time and not cause stress, confusion, or delay (for those of you with young children who watch a certain train show, you will get the reference).

Here’s my summary before you read the long post: Great concept, but not yet ready to be seamlessly integrated into my classroom.

Personal note to @gradeable: No offense to you with this review. I am sure you are amazing, hardworking people who have launched the beginnings of what could be an incredible product! Please take these thoughts and run with it! I try really hard not to be a curmudgeon with internet reviews, and hopefully this comes across well.

I signed up for the 30 day no-credit-card-needed free trial. (Thanks for the no-credit-card-needed, I greatly dislike forgetting when the 30 day trial is up and am automagically charged for something I don’t want, way to go Gradeable!).

grade-class

Creating a class:

I jumped in and created a fake class of kids. You select your subject, grade level, and you can import a list of kids from an excel file, or you can just type in the names in the box. You do not have to put an email address in for the students, but you do have to put in a last name, first name. (For my test run, I just tried to put in first names, it didn’t work.)

grade-numbersIt then takes you to your dashboard page where there is a curious number at the top.

I am assuming the “rank in the nation” is the number of users Gradeable has so far?

 

Creating an Assessment

I moved on to creating an assessment. One of the main features is that with multiple choice questions, once a file is uploaded the quiz will be immediately graded.  This is a nice option, especially if you are giving a full multiple choice quiz. In creating a new assessment, you can select the standard which it fits (nice option!), the CCSS are automatically given, and you can just put a check mark by which standards you want.

grade-q1I chose to copy and paste a couple of questions from an Examview test I created. Seemed easy enough. I was able to take a screenshot of a number line with a separate program (Jing), and then was able to insert it into the question.  The dark gray box underneath is the area that students have to answer the question. You can drag it down or up to give them more space to answer. Now, here is where a first problem showed up. You can see I have the image in the question here, but it did not show up on my test when I went to print it. Not sure what happened, but this could get frustrating pretty easily when trying to create a test!

grade-mcFor the multiple choice questions, I copied and pasted the text of my question, and then was able to paste in the separate choices.  Pretty easy here. Then you choose which answer is correct.

 

 

grade-nextHere is where things get a little odd. To add another question, click “add question” at the bottom. Well , I had created 5 questions already, and was done, but I accidentally clicked “add question” again. It brought up a blank question form, but there was no way to delete the question. And to try to get out of this screen, I clicked “previous” and received this warning. grade-makesure

Ok, I want to delete this question, but there is no where to delete it on this screen. I know it is blank, but let me out!  You can click “done” at the bottom, and it will put you out to the screen where you can arrange questions.  This is a bummer, especially since I just wanted to go back and adjust something.  Not a big deal, but it is a bug that needs to be addressed.

Now, it takes you to the screen with all of your questions.

Edit – 7/11/14  I had found an issue with with the questions being on separate pages. It turns out it was a chrome/OS X bug.  Within 6 hours they fixed the problem.  Bottom line, if you find something buggy, email support with your system information, you may have found something that they have not run into yet.

grade-assess

 

Here is where you can rearrange your questions.  You can drag the space for answers box up and down and try to get it to onto one page.  After the last question you put in is this:grade-delete

 

Edit 7/11/14: At first I thought it was a mistake and tried to delete this question, it won’t let you. But it does not show up on the quiz when you print it, and it is there for you to click on in order to put another question in.

Printing the Test

Now, you can print your test.  I clicked on print preview and up pops a .pdf file that I can save/print. Here’s where the stretchy answer boxes come in. Because I couldn’t see it on the previous screen where I could move the questions around, I didn’t realize that my five questions stretched to two pages. Also notice here that my graphic I inserted into the question did not appear. 7-01 Quiz A-2pages (this is the .pdf) and yes, I realize now that question 2 is incomplete. This was just a test, I repeat only a test!)

Edit 7/11/14: The preview problem was again a bug with Chrome/OS X.  They fixed it, and now I don’t have to bounce back and forth to see the print preview.

Scanning and Grading

So I finally get it formatted, and print it out. Here is where things can be cool.  I print out the test, fill in the name of one of my fake students, and complete the test.  I then use a scanner, and scan it into my computer. IMG Then Gradeable has you upload the file, and it will automagically score the multiple choice questions. This is really nice. The test is recognized by the QR code on the bottom, and the name is recognized as well. At first, the student received a 20% because the short answer isn’t graded automatically. (@Gradeable, would it be possible to have bubble scoring to enter in a number? Or boxes to enter in a number like the name above?)

Update from @Gradeable:  This feature is on their timeline to put in place.

 Another cool feature is that the questions are pulled out, and the answer boxes are separated. However, this is where things get weird again.

grade-abe

If you have anything written outside of your sized answer boxes, it doesn’t show up! Our kids will write outside of the imaginary answer box lines, and you will not be able to see it when you score it.  This is a big issue. 

grade-missing

Look here at questions 4 and 5.  You see the circled answer for question 4 at the top of the question 5 box. And the rest of the question 5 answer is missing. Now I have to go back to the original scan and look and see what was written and if the answer is correct.

When you are scoring the quiz, you can provide feedback, and you can print the file with the feedback on it for the students. This is helpful.

Update:  While scoring the test there is a “See Full Page” link that I missed while scoring. It is in the bottom left hand corner of the question. You see the entire page here.  grade-fullpage

But what is not helpful is this, if I have already scored the quiz once, I can’t find a way to go back and score it again. @Gradeable, is there a way to do this and I am missing it?

Edit 7/11/14: I completely missed the button to score the test again. I kept pressing the edit button when looking at a particular student, which edited a student’s info. Click on the assessment, and then click on “grade” on the right hand side. The feature is there, it just wasn’t where I thought it was. grade-edit

Current Takeaway:

A long post here, and yes, I have only had a few hours with this software. But it is not yet ready for primetime for me.

Here is what’s good:

  • Easy to start a class
  • Good idea in creating questions and answer boxes, and having it separated in the scoring area.
  • The immediate recognition of names and which test it is and automagically cueing them up is good. It is really an amazing and powerful feature!
  • The ability to print the scored test with feedback is great.
  • Having a digital portfolio of student’s work is great as well.

@Gradeable, here are somethings to work on to help make your great idea much better in reality:

  • Have a true print preview and a way to organize the questions on the page before seeing it as a .pdf file.Fixed!
  • Have a delete button in the creating assessments area when I click on “add question” and don’t want it.
  • Make sure images make it from the question creation onto the test. Not sure what happened with mine, but you can see from the screenshots that it is there, but not on the final print preview.
  • Have a dotted line box drawn under the question so that students know where they can write the answers. I can give an instruction saying “anything outside this box will not be scored.” They have considered this and will consider it again. For now you can click on “see full screen” while grading the assessment. 
  • Have a way for me to go back and rescore an assessment.
    —Update: There is a way to do this. On the screen in looking at the assignments, click “Grade” on the right hand side. 
  • On your preview screen of a scored assessment, for some reason on my computer (OS X Mavericks, on Chrome), the “X” is not showing up on the screen. When I mouse over the corner, it turns blue, but I don’t see that before I go there. Also, I should be able to click “ESC” on my keyboard to get out of it, but that doesn’t work either.
    grade-missing x

You’ve done a great work so far, but it needs a bit more done to seamlessly fit into my classroom routine. I’m sorry that this is such a long post after only one day of using it, but honestly, if I, as a tech geek, am having this much trouble with it, I think you will miss out on a large segment of teachers who will give up and not push farther with it. I think this may already be happening with this graphic: I graded one quiz, five questions, and I jumped from #440 to #88.

gradeable rank

 

 

 

 

 

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