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Introducing Ellen Brandenberger: A New Teacher Voice at Gradeable

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In her time in the classroom, Ellen, or Ms. Ellen as she was known by her 5th grade students, experienced the challenge that grading presented to many teachers. After long days of actively engaging our students, fellow teachers still needed to spend hours grading student work in order to provide timely feedback and instructional adjustments for students. Now a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Ellen joined Gradeable committed to helping teachers like herself overcome this challenge and be another (and continuing!) teacher voice in Gradeable product development and design. Ellen will be blogging about her time at Harvard, thoughts on the field of education, stories of superstar teachers, and new information surrounding the Gradeable product.

My first two weeks at Gradeable have been an incredible joy. It is fantastic to be part of a working community that is so passionate about helping my fellow teachers streamline their workflow so that instruction can truly be the central focus of teachers’ time and efforts. As an educator, I am passionate about helping other teachers be the best they can be, as I believe that teachers are at the center of successful education for students everywhere, and undervalued for the incredible amount of work that they do for their students. In the classroom, I often felt that what we needed most as educators was not an increase in effort, but rather a need for stakeholders to remember that teachers efforts, every single one, should be directed towards improving instruction and student learning opportunities.

I also bring a strong passion for personal learning, and am constantly delighted to learn new things, and discover new opportunities. This passion brought me to Harvard, where I am pursuing a Masters of Education with a focus on technologies and innovation for education. I come to this program with a fair amount of skepticism, but full of optimism: in my time in the classroom, I saw the incredible impact that technologies had on my students’ learning, yet would hesitate to say that this was the best or only way that they achieved new knowledge and skills. Instead, I believe that technology informs new opportunities for us as educators to focus on what matters most: deep and constructive student learning.

My work at Gradeable will be directly informed by this background. My role will be to support teachers and their use of the Gradeable product. This will mean responding to teacher inquiries and problems, integrating teacher feedback into the product, and being a voice for teacher needs and opinion at Gradeable, both online through social media and in person. My hope is that my role will become a portal for you to interact with Gradeable, and the each and every one of you will be comfortable reaching out to me as both a resource and a fellow educator, who, like you, understands the struggles and challenges that go along with teaching and learning. All the best.

Ellen can be reached  directly by email at Ellen@gradeable.com. Please reach out with concerns, feedback, inquires, or of course, successes with the product.

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Introducing Gradeable Projects: Manage and Grade Projects through Gradeable’s Brand New Project-Based Learning Tool

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We were not satisfied with just making your grading go faster.  We weren’t even satisfied with giving teachers invaluable insights into your students’ thinking.  We wanted to give teachers more options to understand and engage students, and to that end, we are happy to announce our newest tool, Gradeable Projects. It is the perfect addition to starting and managing project-based learning in your classroom.

Gradeable Projects enables teachers to seamlessly integrate inquiry-based learning and measure standards and learning in a project format.  Project-based learning (PBL) has shown increased student engagement and motivation by encouraging students to constantly ask questions and re-evaluate what they have learned.  Research shows many important benefits of PBL: including higher student engagement, more self-reliance among students, better attendance, and a possible tool to close the achievement gap by engaging diverse students at all levels of achievement.  Check out this helpful compilation of research provided by the Buck Institute if you are interested in learning more.

How to get started with Gradeable Projects

Simply open up your Gradeable dashboard – and alongside, select a recent (or your favorite) project.  Click to create a “New Project.” (ProTip: Looking to create Gradeable’s original assessments? Just click on quiz/worksheet!)

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accessprojects_dashboardThis is your project creation page. You can modify the name, description, tagged Common Core standards, and classes here. Most importantly, you can create your project rubric which is important to maintain the rigor of your students’ projects. To create your rubric, you can copy and paste an existing rubric or use a free online tool like Rubistar to identify the correct language and criteria. You can adjust point levels up to 100.  The beauty of our rubric setup is that Gradeable will total up all of your project points at the end, when you’re done with evaluating students.

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After you’ve filled it out, you will be taken to your main project page. This is where you can add in different components (essays, lab write ups, posters, video, etc), print feedback you’ve left for students, and most importantly, view and grade student work.

mainpblpageOn this page, you can sort your view by components:

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Or sort by student:

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To add different components, click on Evidence Based. It will take you to your evidence creation page. Remember that evidence can be any part of your project that you would like to assess students on. The component will not show up on your main project page until you upload student work into that component. Don’t forget to add to your rubric if you add more components.

createevidenceTo upload student work, you can either 1) go to your main project page and click on Upload Evidence or 2) go to your dashboard and click on Upload. On this page, you will see that you can upload two types of documents: 1) Worksheets—these are your completed Gradeable quizzes and assessments or 2) Evidence—this is specifically for your student project components. After selecting the files to upload, don’t forget to click Submit.

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After the progress bar is finished, you will see your files populating the bottom field. Select which files you would like to organize first and fill in the correct fields on the right-side form. Save project.

Example: Upload all your project files but select only research papers. Navigate to the drop down menu and select the Research Paper component you created. Assign the work to the correct students.

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When you’re ready to grade your components (and you can save and grade later as well!), navigate back to your main project page. Click on any image in the component you’d like to start in. This is your grading panel and where you will see a picture of the student work as well as the corresponding rubric. The rubric will stay with the same student throughout all the components. Quickly scroll through student work by going left or right.

gradeevidenceTo grade using the rubric, find the correct component/criterion and click on the proficiency level. Gradeable will automatically total up the scores at the end of the project.

evidencerubricIf you choose to add comments, all feedback and rubrics can be printed out for students via your main project page.  Managing and grading projects never was so easy!  Now you can truly Grade Everything.  Are you as excited about PBL as we are?  Let us know in the comments below!

 Don’t let the project blues get you, get started with Gradeable Projects—now!

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Announcing Gradeable and Teach for America iPad Mini Contest Winners

TFAleaderboard2We’re excited to announce the winners of our iPad Mini contest with Teach for America Corps Members and alum. Gradeable and Teach for America (TFA) established a partnership in April to bring innovative learning tools to classrooms. TFA is an educational organization that finds, trains, and supports top college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. The TFA network includes 11,200 corps members in 48 regions across the country, with more than 32,000 alumni working in education and many other sectors to create systemic change that will impact educational inequity.

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Over a period of 24 weeks, corps members were tasked to engage with Gradeable and act on data analytics gained from everyday quizzes to help personalize students’ learning.  Winners of the contest are: Esther Kim, Houston ‘12; Amy Wagoner, Kansas City ‘13; Nyamagaga Gondwe, Delaware ‘13; Aidan Loeser, New York ‘12. With over 31 regions entered, there was significant participation in the Atlanta, Mississippi, Houston and New York regions. The iPad Minis were made available as a prize through the generous donation from an anonymous Gradeable investor.

We had:

  • Pre-K teachers assessing letter recognition
  • High school Spanish teachers testing fluency
  • Middle school Science teachers evaluating lab reports

“I think this program is really great.  Currently, I use another product and my biggest complaint is that I could never give the kids anything tangible back and I could only do multiple choice questions.  Gradeable allows me to integrate both,” Chelsea Miller, Memphis ‘13.

Looking to bring faster grading and personalized insights into your classroom?

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4 Common Grading Problems, Solved by Gradeable

Assessment can be so annoying!  Whether you’re a new or veteran teacher, you can relate to the frustration.  Gradeable offers solutions that teachers can use to solve the following grading issues have withstood the test of time:

#1: “My students keep losing their assessments!”

As teachers, we know the feeling of handing a paper back and having the student lose said paper—in minutes. Using Gradeable to scan in all student papers or upload digital assessments ensures that every single paper will be accounted for in their individual digital portfolios.portfolioss

With no manual sorting or paper organization system required on your part, it’s easy to pull up assignments, quizzes, and projects in one click for easy parent conferences and meetings with students.


#2: “It’s hard for me to identify where my students need help.”

Just by looking at our students, teachers already know if their students “get it.” But sometimes, even your super spidey teacher senses cannot be sure why students didn’t do well on a test, despite well-thought lesson plans and remediation. Gradeable’s data break downs created after grading will layout a clear, evidence-backed picture of exactly which questions and problems students struggle with.

SS5All data break downs come with beautifully visualized graphs and charts that make it easy to present insights at Professional Development or staff meetings— or even to your classes! Students love to know their own progress.

Watch and listen to how Colin, a Gradeable super user, uses Gradeable to pinpoint exact learning gaps.

#3: “I’m unable to give deeper feedback.”

Feedback is absolutely essential to student growth— teachers already know that and students look for these comments. However, time doesn’t always allow teachers to give in-depth feedback in a timely manner. The comment bank in the Gradeable grading panel allows teachers to type in feedback (so it’s completely legible!) and even keeps common comments to be easily dropped onto the students’ paper instead of rewriting it—35 times.

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Watch and learn how Debbie, a high school math teacher uses Gradeable’s efficiency to give better feedback and cut down on the paper load.

 

#4: “I don’t know how to link current lessons to the Common Core.”

Planning for Common Core lessons will already be a large task. Gradeable makes one of those parts easier by ensuring that you’re tracking students’ progress by each Common Core standard so you can celebrate mastery and move on or reteach missed standards with laser-like focus.

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If you feel that Gradeable might be helpful for your classroom get a GRADEABLE FREE TRIAL or LEARN MORE ABOUT GRADEABLE!  Feel free to contact our community manager Kavita with any questions: kavita@gradeable.com. She’s really nice and would love you to hear from you!

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New Feature: Import Existing Assessment and be Gradeable Ready!

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Why should I create quizzes now?

Imagine having your ducks in a row by the first day of school—for the entire year. Gradeable aims to give you peace of mind that your quizzes are Gradeable Ready. All you would need to do is print and go and your students will benefit from the question-by-question data analysis that you can use to re-teach with.

Instead of manually rebuilding existing assessments on the Gradeable platform yourselves, simply upload your documents and the Gradeable Robots will have it ready for you to just print and go.

How does it work?

1. Use any of your existing assessments (PDF, doc, docx, excel, csv, jpg).

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2. Go to Assessment

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3. Click on Import Existing

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4. Fill out the form and upload the document

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5. Within 24 hours, you will receive email notice that your assignment is Gradeable Ready!

And all you have to do is to press Submit!

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Gradeable Partners with Teach For America with iPad Mini Contest

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Gradeable is pleased to announce a special contest hosted for our newest partner, Teach For America. All current Corps Members have the chance to win one of 25 iPad Minis. The contest ends June 30th.

All you need is a referral code

Teachers are entered into the contest as soon as they sign-up with referral code: TFA14. Winners are decided based on number of uploaded quizzes.

Learn more about the contest here.

Start with an Exit Ticket

May is the perfect month to try out Gradeable and win an iPad Mini. Teachers do not even have to wait to the next big chapter test — build tomorrow’s Exit Ticket on Gradeable and you’re up and running!

Teach For America Regional Leaderboard

We have representation from many regions, but there’s room for plenty more! Here is a ranking of the top-ranked TFA regions by number of sign-ups.

Know a TFA Corps Member? Be sure to forward this to them so that your favorite teacher can grade by the beach on their own iPad Mini.

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Friday Bulletin Board: Extra! Extra! We Launched Our Mobile App!

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On Wednesday, we launched our mobile app. Now it’s even easier for teachers to scan and upload paper-based student assignments without having to leave their desk. With our launch, came coverage from the press, and we’d like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in getting our name out there. Thank you for everyone’s support from retweets to feedback to just good, old fashion company—your support means so much to us. And as always, thank you to the teachers for getting up in the morning to help shape the future. There would be no Gradeable without teachers.

Now, without further ado, here’s how our mobile app launch was covered this week:

BostInno: MIT-Spun Startup Puts the Power into Teachers’ Hands With New Mobile Grading App

Teachers can spend a third of their time just grading. Yet, with the free, new iPhone app, they can scan and upload quizzes, worksheets and tests, and allow Gradeable to do the work. Once assessments are in the system, the company can analyze how students are performing against Common Core standards and provide charts that help highlight individual students’ strengths and weaknesses. Once armed with the data, all it takes is one quick glance for educators to know what they need to reteach.

BetaBoston: Gradeable launches mobile grading app as ed tech heats up

The Greadeable app uses a mobile device’s camera to scan and instantly grade student assessments, whether they are fill-in-the-blank or short answer. Scores are then compiled, and data from the tests are analyzed to give immediate insight to classroom teacher’s on a student’s success or difficulty on a certain test or a specific type of assessment question.

EdSurge: Gradeable Adds Free Mobile App for Teachers

While the freestanding Gradeable website allows for educators to easily scan paper-based quizzes and work with a QR code, the app allows for students to directly submit assignments to a teacher’s Gradeable Inbox—without teachers touching physical paper or taking work home.

Boston Herald: New Apple app 
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“If we can score it automatically, we will,” Parul Singh, the company’s founder and CEO, said yesterday. “If it’s more in-depth, teachers can review it and grade it more quickly than they normally would by looking at all of the answers for each question one at a time and creating a comment bank to save their remarks about mistakes that are the same. Teachers should be able to go over to their iPad 10 minutes later and see exactly which areas they need to re-teach.”

Press release: Gradeable Launches Digital Grading Mobile App

Colin, a middle school reading teacher says, “The best thing about Gradeable is that it automatically grades, so that I don’t have to do that—but it also gives me data. I can actually click and look to see how my students did on each question and then use that data the next class—immediately.”

Current Gradeable users can download the free Gradeable app in the iTunes App Store at http://bit.ly/GradeableApp. New users can sign up for a free trial at http://www.gradeable.com.

Thanks for tuning in. Have a great weekend, folks!