“If I had an hour to save the world I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions”
- Al Einstein

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tell 'em What They Know...

   So a colleague (who I will pretend is not the only one reading this) asked me about how I share my students progress with them. Apparently, he'd heard good things from students, which is nice, because I only hear about the bugs in the system. He also made fun of the fact that I took the crappy worksheets I wrote for when I was out of town and shared them with the world, saying that it wasn't very "21st Century" of me, so I need to dig myself out of that hole...

   I use Google Spreadsheet to keep my gradebook, which makes it "easy" to share my gradebook with my students. As you probably realize, high school students love comparing themselves to one another, so giving them access to everyone else's grades isn't a great idea (probably not great for job security, either). I'll try to explain in this post how I show each student only their own grades, and keep it updated automatically when I update... buckle up.

Step One:
   I published the gradebook as a webpage. This sounds terrifying, but no one gets the address. This is really the only way I could find to export the data to another spreadsheet (not just another sheet in the same file), which is what I needed to do next...

Step Two:
   When you publish a Google Spreadsheet, you have the option of copying a link to specific portions of it. I chose the column that represents each student's scores, and imported that into a separate spreadsheet for each student (be sure to "republish whenever changes are made". Now, every student has their own spreadsheet that has a list of the skills we've covered so far and their current score on each (I use Standards Based Grading, which many others have covered much better than I ever will). This is the tedious step, since I had to create a spreadsheet for each student... probably only took a couple of hours total, but its a lot of annoying cutting and pasting. Not fun.

(Here is where I learned to export (publish) and import into another spreadsheet. Much clearer than my explanation)

Step Three:
   This I learned the hard way: I hid the row that contained the original link to the published data. It turned out my students could click the link and see my whole gradebook. Not good, but luckily they told me about it early on, and I could fix it. Luckily, I had imported only the first row, then auto-filled the rest. Only the first row contained the link to the published data, so I could hide it and not worry.

Step Four:
   I gave each student read-only access to their spreadsheet. Vwah-la (French for "Holla!").

***Of course I would never be able to do this sort of thing without the incredible tech department at my school. They're a great resource that I know most teachers don't have! Thanks, guys!


  1. you must be talking about another colleague. i don't remember asking you how you share student progress with them. i certainly never heard good things about you.

  2. Don't you remember, Kyle? You sat next to me in faculty meeting today. You were grading your photo projects. Then you asked about my Google Docs setup. That was you, right?

  3. Thanks for the step by step. Posting it here allows me to avoid having to converse with you in person, so that's a relief. Now I can go back to averting my eyes and changing direction whenever I see you coming. Oh, also, consider yourself atoned for the worksheets.