Downloading the Appropriate Version
At the beginning of each grading period download the latest version of Gradebook to make sure you have all the latest features. The special Kindergarten version (5.0k) is for teachers who determine student progress using a system of checks, pluses, and minuses. The standard version (5.0) is for teachers who use either letter grades or percent grades (or a combination of both) and teach no more than five subjects. Teachers in private schools which teach 6-8 subjects using letter grades and/or percent grades should use version 5.0-8.
From the menu at the left of this screen, click on download. When the download screen appears, click on the correct version for your situation. In the "File Download" screen, click on SAVE. At the top of the "Save As" window, designate the drive and folder to which you want Gradebook to be saved. At the bottom of the "Save As" screen, type in a new "File Name" for your personal Gradebook. We recommend that your file name include the school year and grading period (i.e., Gradebook04-05First).
Once you have designated the drive and folder AND named your file, you should click on SAVE. When the Save procedure is finished, a "Download Complete" window will appear on your screen. Click on OPEN. Your Gradebook file will open in another Window on your screen using the Excel program on your hard drive.
You may now close your Internet browser window and begin using your Gradebook program. To avoid possible loss of data when using a spreadsheet program, remember that you should ALWAYS click on "File - Save" at the completion of every task OR every 10-15 minutes.
Creating a Shortcut on Your Desktop
For quick access to your Gradebook in the future, you may wish to create a shortcut on your desktop. To do this go to FILE, OPEN. In the "Open" window, highlight the name of your Gradebook. Then do a RIGHT click on your mouse. From the pop-up menu, click on "Create Shortcut." You will see the shortcut appear in the "Open" window. Next, move your mouse so the cursor arrow is in the blue strip at the top of your Excel window. Hold down the left mouse clicker and pull the window down so your desktop is revealed. Finally, move your mouse so the cursor arrow points to the shortcut in the "Open" window. Hold down the left mouse clicker and drag the shortcut out of the window to the position you want it on the desktop. When you release the clicker, your shortcut will be established. Close the gradebook on your screen and exit Excel.
Opening Your Gradebook
Double click on the shortcut which you placed on your desktop. Your Gradebook should open automatically. If a window pops up asking about "macros," be sure to click on "Enable Macros." On some computers you must click on "Enable Macros" every time you open your gradebook program. Macros are the formulas which calculate the grade averages.
If you have a new computer or you have not used macros before, you may get a pop-up message concerning security. Follow the directions in the message: (1) Click on "Tools" at the top of the screen; (2) In the drop down menu, click on "Macro" and "Security;" (3) In the security pop-up window, change the setting to "Low;" (4) click on "Okay." Once you have reset the security level, you should not have to do this again. You are now ready to begin using the program.
Getting Started: Student List
Start on the SUMMARY page. Type in the students' names in the A column on the SUMMARY page, beginning at row 5. The students' names will automatically be entered onto the subject pages. CAUTION: Do NOT insert the names of new students into the list once you have begun entering grades. New students should be added at the bottom of the list just as you did in your old handwritten gradebook.
Getting Started: Page Set-Up
Before you leave the Summary page, click on the word "FILE" at the top of your screen. From the pull-down menu, select "Page SetUp." If you do not see "Page SetUp" on the menu, double click on FILE to access a longer menu.
In the SetUp window, click on the tab labeled "Header/Footer." You will see an old header in the center window. Click on "Customize Header" and create your own header. You also need to "Customize Header" for each of the Subject worksheets. Just click on the subject tab at the bottom of you screen and repeat the above procedure.
Getting Started: Grade Weights
Next, go to the "GradeScale" page and edit the grade weights for each of the subjects. Give each type of grade (like "Test") a single CAPITAL letter and then a percentage. Use the existing ones as an example. Remember that all your weights in each subject must add up to 100. NOTE: Teachers using the Kindergarten version may skip this step since your grades are based on performance criteria and are not weighted.
Getting Started: Changing Subject Tabs
If the subjects you teach are different from those listed on the tabs, you may change the names by following this THREE-STEP procedure:
When entering grades on a subject page, put a description of the assignment in row 3. In row 2, put the single letter code given to that type of assignment as you defined on the GradeScale page. CAUTION: The grade calculator will not work if you fail to enter a code in this space. It will not work if you type a lower-case letter on the subject page when you have assigned a capital letter on the GradeScale page. It will also not work if you hit the space bar either before or after the letter.
Grades can be entered as number grade (like 95) or using a letter grade (like B+). If a letter grade is entered, the program will use the scale shown at the top of the GradeScale page to calculate the averages. There are two "special" grades that can be entered: "EX" and "AB" for excused and absent. You can also enter "NG" for assignments you have collected but not yet graded. The average calculator will automatically exclude assignments with those codes when calculating the grade average instead of treating them as a 0. If an assignment has not been turned in, but you will still accept it, leave the grade space blank.
When you set up your grade weights at the beginning of the marking period, you will envision all the types of assignments you expect to assign during the nine weeks. Obviously, during the beginning of the marking period there will be weeks when the students have not yet done a particular type of assignment (i.e., a research project). The Excel Gradebook calculator automatically takes this into consideration and distributes the weighting proportionately among the other categories until you have actually used all the assignment codes.
If you need to change a grade at any time, click on the cell containing the incorrect grade. Then do a RIGHT CLICK on the mouse. From the pop-up window click on "clear contents." The old grade will disappear, and you can type in the new grade. NEVER use the delete key to clear a cell in Gradebook. ALWAYS use the "clear contents" command.
Adding Columns for More Grades
As the grading period progresses, you may find that you need additional columns to enter more grades. Move the cursor to any cell in the column AFTER the place where you want a new column. Then click on the button "Add Column" at the top of the page. You may delete extra blank columns by moving the cursor to a cell in the blank column and clicking on the button "Delete Column." CAUTION: Do NOT click on "Delete Column" when your cursor is in a column where you have grades or you will lose that entire set of grades. If this accidentally happens, IMMEDIATELY click on the undo button in your task bar in order to restore the grades.
Print-Outs for Administrative Purposes
You can obtain a hard copy of the Summary Page or any Subject page. When the page is open on your screen, click on FILE and select print from the pull-down menu. In the print menu, click on "Pages" and enter the values "from 1 to 1." Then enter the number of copies of that pages you want, and click on "Okay." It is recommended that a hard copy be printed at least once a week. However, at the end of the grading period, you only need to save the final copy of all 5 subjects and the Summary for your permanent records. These records for four grading periods constitute the "Gradebook" which you will be required to turn in to the administration at the end of the school year.
Individual Print-Outs for Parents and Students
The print buttons at the top of each page may be used to generate status reports which can be sent home with the students. If you need to generate a report for one particular student, select any cell in the row for the student for whom you would like a report, then hit the "Print Current Student" button. "Show Student" will generate the report on your screen, but will not print it. To have the computer automatically print an individual report for every student in your class, click on "Print All Students."
On the summary page you will see additional buttons which can be used to generate a report of all the work that the student is missing. You may select individual students using "Show Missing Work for Student" or "Print Missing Work for Student." To have the computer automatically create a print-out of missing work for each student in the class with any missing work, click on "Print All Missing Work." All assignments where the grade space is blank in each subject will be listed on the report. If you have not yet had time to grade all assignments, but you want the assignment to appear on the Missing Work report, enter NG in the grade space for those students who did turn it in. NG means "Not Yet Graded."
Using the Grade Report as a Weekly Newsletter
The "Header" and "Footer" pages allow you to use the Grade report as a general communication tool with parents. These pages are useful for adding common blocks of text to every report.
The Header page is set up to use for general announcements of upcoming events which all students/parents need to know about. If you do not like the heading "Classroom Notes and Events," click on cell 5A and change the text. All the blanks in column A below row 5 are set up to accept lengthy comments which will automatically "wrap" to the next line. You may change the font style, size, color, etc. as you wish. Remember: Whatever you type on the Header page will appear on every student report.
The Footer page explains the codes used on the Grade Printout:
You may edit these code definitions, and you may delete a code you do not wish to use. However, you may not create new codes.
The Footer Page also includes the statement "Please sign this Progress Report and return it to your child's teacher" with spaces for Parent Signature, Date Signed, and Parent Comments. You may choose to modify or delete this information.
Using the Grade Report for Individual Notes to Parents
The "Notes" page can be used to add a more personalized teacher comment to an individual student report (i.e., "Don't forget conference 2:15 on Wed, 9/10;" or "Joey needs to work on his multiplication facts" ). NOTE: You may change the text in cell A2 if you want your comments to be titled something other than "Teacher Notes."
These individual Teacher Notes may be issued separately OR included with the Weekly Newsletter. The section labeled "Teacher Notes" will only appear on a child's report IF you have entered a personalized comment in column B after the student's name. Find the student's name in column A, and then type your comment/note into column B. Cells in column B will automatically "wrap" text to the next line when you have lengthy comments.
There are many additional OPTIONS available with Gradebook. You will find them on the GradeScale page. Study it carefully. Here are two examples:
Grade Averages -- If you do not want grade averages to show on the individual printouts, go to the GradeScale page and find the topic "Print Averages" in column I; then change the code in column J to 0. If you decide you want the averages to print later in the grading period, simply go back and change the code to 1. Also, if you do not want grade averages carried out two decimal places, find "average decimals" in column I; then change the code in column J to 0.
Columns on Page -- Gradebook is currently set to print a two-column report. As you get more and more assignments in each subject, the program adjusts the font size to make everything fit into the two columns. However, if the print becomes too small for comfortable reading, you may switch to the three-column option. On the GradeScale page, find "Print Columns" in column I, and change the code in column J to 3.
CAUTION: The "Working" page always shows the last student printout you did. It stays in the programs memory until you request a new or updated printout. The "Working" page is NOT to be used for teacher input.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me.
©2003, J. Daniel Kulp