In search of the best online gradebook software

The Dream
Ah, to sleep, perchance to dream of automating our gradebook system.

We do many cutting edge things here, but alas we currently do report cards in Shakespearian longhand. Several of us have trialed and used online gradebook systems in the last year and we are convinced that doing this by hand is a waste of time that we do not have.

I’m a big believer in efficiency. I’m also a believer that when you select software you base it on what it is easy for teachers to use or IT WILL NOT BE USED!

I don’t need bloatware that has more features than we want. We also don’t have unlimited resources.

I’ve been perusing the Internet, lots of software, not much information from teachers about what they think.

Call for Help
Here are the requirements of what we need:

  • Online access to grades for parents and students.
  • Gradebook software for teachers that allows averaging on a weighted as well as a straight basis.
  • Appropriate for grades 3 – 12
  • Hosted off site (I teach 5 classes and maintain all computers and the server, no more databases I have to write, please!)
  • Will easily print report cards with all grades for each student.
  • Preferably accessed through an Internet browser for teachers and students
  • Affordable
  • Easy for teacher to use

I’m just trying to come up with a short list.

Would you post what you use and if you like it?

An opinionated sidenote
I don’t really care to do an SIS and online system. I’m amazed at what waste and redundancy there seems to be with these multiple systems. Many of the SIS (Student Information Systems) systems are still talking about their upgrade from DOS on their website. Come on!

Web 2.0 and the gradebook.

What I’d really like is a class portal with gradebook information, etc. but also the ability to do RSS feeds into the portal which would include such things as the school calendar, school news blog, and other items.

With the advent of XHTML it seems there should be a better way but no one has invented it yet.

Please help me!

I’m trying to get the short list to our technology committee. I’ve been working on this for three weeks and resorting to my blog as a last resort. (I hope you will prove that it should have been my first resort!)

Some I’m considering putting on the short list:


Would you post what you use and if you like it?

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11 thoughts on “In search of the best online gradebook software

  1. I used Thinkwave several years ago and loved it then, so intuitive, easy to use and modify to fit my classroom needs.

    My district decided to buy an expensive “boondoggle” from an old football buddy of the business manager. I was forbidden my beloved Thinkwave and required to use the district software. No flexibility, difficult to learn and use, and requiring time consuming and error filled uploads to the program that would actually create the report cards.

    Two years ago though we bought the web based grade book that appends to our student records software, Skyward. The grade book has much of the same flexibility that I loved in Thinkwave and also creates a seamless interface for daily attendance, student accounts, grade book, etc. Parents can access all their kids records online, from grades to attendance to school lunch accounts. Kids can get access to some of this information and it can be set by individual family so that if one family wants kids to have info about lunch accounts and grades they can but if another family wants to limit kids to no info they have that choice.

    I was one of the pilot teachers for this grade book last year and we are using it district wide this year. By the end of first semester this year the complaints had dropped from about 30 a week to one or two a week. (In contrast to the “boondoggle” which generated 10-20 complaints at every staff meeting for the entire 6 years we used it.)

    I would definitely recommend Thinkwave, but you may want to check out the add-ons for programs your district already has.

  2. We’ll be beta testing the gradebook for SchoolTool in the fall, which should give you everything you want in an open source package. You would have to run a server locally, but it is designed to be easy to install. If you are interested, drop me a line.

  3. I’ve just finished my first year of teaching in a private school (also my first year teaching, period.) We use a program called RenWeb. Not the greatest in the world, I’m sure, but it is accessed through the internet, lets parents and students see grades from any computer connected to the internet, has a homework module that let’s teachers post the homework for the week on the site, and also has an online assessment tool (haven’t used that one yet…had to get through my first year of teaching). I know you posted this months ago and may have even made a decision, but I thought I’d go ahead and give you my two cents worth.

  4. I used thinkwave for 5 years. No problem until we got the administrative modual. It has been a very bad experience. Entire classes repeatedly corrupted, grades wrong, teachers not being able to upgrade grades, the database being corrupted. Called for help are no returned. Support is terrible. If you use thinkwave, use it on your own. Never use the administrative modual. We must change next year to keep our sanity.

  5. Do you know of http://engrade.com?

    Excellent and 100% free. Been using it for a long time, and it is exactly what any teacher needs. I just wish I can get my hands on the software though. Would like to install it on our school website.

  6. Hi Vicki,

    Our county uses three programs/systems together.

    Locally, we keep grades in an InteGrade Pro gradebook. This syncs with our SASIxp system (which combines, grades, attendance, and other information).

    This information is synced through Edulink System’s InTouch Online to allow parents and students to check grades, attendance, etc. online.

    As an example, the login screen for our school’s sytem is here.

    Not sure if this is the kind of thing you were looking for or not. Good luck in your search!

  7. Have you checked out
    EasyGrade Pro?
    We use it at a few of our middle school and teachers love its ease of use….even those who aren’t technologically inclined. It allows for lots of different report options, easily uploads online and the newest version provides optionfor attaching assignments to standards and scoring rubrics. Our parents really like the ability to check their students progress online and wonder why the high school isn’t using it yet. It sure eliminates a lot of the parent phone calls over lack of communication regarding grades.

  8. Hello everyone! Thank you for the great suggestions. We went with PowerSchool ASP (it is hosted offsite) we have had a few glitches but would have had the same on any system as we move from a manual system to an automated one. It continues to take a lot of my time, but I look forward to completing the learning curve. We’ve come a long way and thank you for your suggestions! I’ve heard great things about a lot of this software!

  9. Vicky,
    The best on-line gradebook I’ve found is Gradeweb. My LA collegue and I have been using the site for each of our 4 middle school core classes for 3 years now. Gradeweb has a user friendly interface for the teacher, student and parent. Grades are password protected and students can access their grades directly from the class homepage. Gradeweb is one of the few sites that successfully combines a user friendly web page interface (for assignments, event news, grading policies etc) with an online gradebook, all accessible from the same page. If you would like to check out our page, I’ve linked to it next to my name on this posting.

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