Electronic Markbook v2.1

05Aug12

I spent most of last year messing around with a simplified version of an electronic markbook. Of course, ideally it should be standardised and built in (not to mention linked to a lesson planner), but it’s not. Despite the fact that we use electronic registration in my setting, we need to keep track of attendance, behaviour and achievement in our lessons individually. This of course has both advantages and disadvantages.

My markbook last year was effectively attendance and a set of homework marks. I tried keeping track of test marks, but found it meant I was slow transferring them to the school system. My original plan, of using my Android, on the school WiFi, failed as we’re not trusted with access for our own devices; at the moment not even staff can BYOD.

My ideal system would be based out of GoogleDocs, usable from work and school, on my own device and through a school desktop. My concerns on this one are about storing student information in ‘the cloud’. Until I can answer those questions to my own satisfaction, I’m sticking with Excel. Yes, I know, boo hiss etc etc. There are obviously alternatives. But remember, I’ll mainly be using this on school computers, which limits my options.

I can’t emphasize enough that this is intended for my own use, in my own setting. I’m mainly making it public so that colleagues online can point out how to make it better, to be honest. 🙂 I consider it creative commons licenced, like everything else I do, so please feel free to adapt and use it – but if so please share it yourselves (especially with me).

I’ve spent time setting up the dates for my own school, so the term dates and INSET days will probably need tweaking. I’ve marked these with shaded columns rather than removing them. It’s set to automatically copy first names from the ‘Group’ sheet to all the others. At present this covers up to 35 students, with six names in there so I could test it. There are sheets for each halfterm of teaching, and one each for

  • group information
  • seating plan
  • homework record
  • notes for myself for reports

I’ll be importing data on targets (and in time, summative test scores) into the Group sheets. (If you want to do this, you’ll probably want to export from your school system as a CSV file.) My plan is to then colour code these so I can see at a glance those students at each end of the ability range, so I can target questions if needed. It should be fairly easy to use conditional formatting so that results can also be colour coded to show how they are doing compared to targets. The reports notes page is based on the feedback I give to students, including the quick reference stickers I use for common errors. I keep track of lesson content by adding brief info in the row beneath students’ attendance – this could be hotlinked to files if you wanted.

Download blank 2012-2013 as xlsx file.

Please ask any questions – and more importanly, make suggestions or give feedback – in the comments.

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11 Responses to “Electronic Markbook v2.1”

  1. I was interested to see your worksheet for report comments. Nice idea. I think I’ll try that this year.
    Like you, in my dept we have excel spreadsheets to record data. We have a new spreadsheet per class, rather than one spreadsheet.
    The first page is usually the background data e.g. KS2, FSM, end of year grade in previous year etc. This is taken from the main department spreadsheet on the school drive and we extract our relevant classes. We add our termly assessments to this (on our own copies) and then paste our data into the central copy. We have varying expertise with the new excel and will be ‘trained’ not to cock this up in September!
    Our second page is for HW, red or green (or ‘ab’ or ‘L’)boxes. Classes with coursework may have a third page.
    We don’t record the register too as it’s on ‘Facility’. This means going into a different system to extract that info. I haven’t the enthusiasm to add a register to my markbook as well and rely on the rigid HW setting and collecting dates to be able to note presence/absence of students.
    On the whole it works OK!

    • 2 IanH

      Thanks for the comment, glad ideas looked useful.

      I should point out that my setting doesn’t use Excel for the collective data management, thankfully. To make merging and sharing more effective, we use Viewpoint/Datapower. This gives lots of options for viewing information, although it can be problematic at times. I’ve played around with it and decided that although it would have produced a better electronic markbook than Excel – it’s easier to define dropdown boxes for example, and I can make it look how I’d like, fit to a page etc – it was too much hassle when it was only me using it. If my setting wanted to give me enough free time to produce one for everyone to use, I’d happily have a go, but it wasn’t worth it just for me! Also, of course, it wouldn’t be portable so I wouldn’t be able to easily access/update from home or on my Android.

      If you wanted to use the reporting side, simply match the columns to your AfL specifications and/or practicals and activities. It would be fairly easy to set it up so that you enter scores/ticks for individual skills and the sheet automagically gives a running total or average. That will probably be something I do separately for different year groups; this was a generic one.

  2. Thank you so much for doing this. I thought about doing this last year but like a lot of things, I didn’t quite get round to it. You’ve saved me a lot of work as it was on my summer to-do list. I haven’t used one before so will need to think about how best to use it to my advantage but this is a great start. I will have 15 classes next year and will be working on 2 campuses so anything to make my life easier will be greatly appreciated. I particularly like that everything is in the same place, including the seating plan. The reports thing is such a simple idea but I imagine will be really helpful when it comes to report writing time.

    Once again, thank you for doing this. I really appreciate your support, as always.

    • 4 IanH

      No worries, thanks for the comment. I’d make a few suggestions if you’re going to use it with so many classes:

      1 have a play with the main blank version, and only copy it 15 times when you’ve made *all* the changes you want.
      2 consider adding photos to the seating plan or group page when you put the names in.
      3 create a master timetable – either in excel or word – with hotlinks to each class, so you click ‘7abc’ and it opens the appropriate excel sheet. You can even colour code the timetable!

      Finally, with a split site you’d probably be best to run it from Google docs, skydrive, dropbox or similar. The alternative would be a memory stick, if access to sync services is erratic. Anyone have thoughts on that?

    • 5 IanH

      And thanks also for pointing out that I’ve messed up July dates – will be sorted asap, if you want to download in the meantime please be aware!

  3. Yes good point about only copying it when I’m happy with it. I use photos from SIMS so could add them in, thanks for the reminder. I’ve already created my colour-coded timetable (was my first summer holiday job) so I’ll add the registers in.

    I think I’ll have it on a memory stick and my area on school drive (can access from both sites). Bit worried about student data and online storage.

    Thanks for tips.

    • 7 IanH

      I have the same concern about cloud storage. I’ll share a link, but will mention now – there’s a way to set up a memory stick so that it sounds an alarm if you try to log off without removing. Probably saw it on lifehacker.

  4. Even though I pulled this off last night, I’ve only just had time to look at it. I’ve been using an electronic markbook for the last 2 years and I find it a MUCH easier method for transferring data to and from internal systems or collaborating with colleagues when reports come along.

    I like the fact that you have a complete markbook for each class. I keep mine per “subject” e.g. homework, grades, group/SEN, behaviour etc and the tabs within each are for each class. I like having each class together – I might fiddle with your version for myself 🙂

    I like to keep a low level behaviour log of my students. I run a three strikes rule in my classroom but there are often students that will bubble up to two strikes regularly. Basically, I create a spreadsheet with students names and date along the top (rather like your existing tabs). I then create a conditional colour code for each type of incident e.g. B means bullying and it’s flagged up red. That way I have an instant picture of student behaviour through the year.

    Rxx

    • 9 IanH

      Racheal, thanks for the comment. Yes, I tried something like that last year but wasn’t very systematic – I want to try something more systematic this time. I like the idea of colour codes, that might make it easier to combine detail with quick reference. Cheers!

  5. We using google apps officially in school, so I have transferred your markbook into a google spreadsheet. I too was a little concerned about using cloud storage, however the school is happy to do so, so I’m trying this out this year.
    I’ll let you know how I get on.

  6. I’d be interested, certainly! Mine definitely comes with a caveat, and the version I’m using now has several tweaks. I’m using colour codes for homework ‘gaps’ and so on, for example.


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