|REPORT CARD |
|Overall Rating:||5 Stars|
|Ease of Use:||A|
Company: Excelsior Software, Inc., 960 37th Avenue Court, Greely, CO 80634; Phone: 800/473-4572; Internet: http://www.excelsiorsoftware.com/.
Price: $80.00—Single user price.
Audience: K-12 classroom teachers.
Format: CD-ROM, MAC or WIN.
Minimum System Requirements:
Windows systems: Pentium PC, 32 MB RAM, at least 3 MB hard disk space, and Windows 98 or higher.
Macintosh systems: PowerMac, 32 MB RAM, a minimum of 3 MB hard disk space, and MAC OS 8.0 or higher.
Description: Gradebook2 provides an assessment package in a single-user edition.
Installation: I reviewed this program on a Dell Latitude/D505 laptop computer with a Pentium M processor (1500 MHz) and Windows XP. Installation is required. The installer set everything up quickly and easily. I was immediately directed to a setup wizard to input my class information. The installation was very easy and straightforward. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: Gradebook2 does much more than record grades. The program includes a variety of report templates, custom report options, seating charts, and skills-tracking features. Teachers using a standards-based program will appreciate the alignment to the work of Dr. Robert Marzano.
The software enables the simultaneous recording of numeric grading and outcome tracking. The program can be configured to all methods of weighting and grading schemes. Curves, bonus points, and extra credit grades can be accommodated.
Numerous standard or built-in reports are included with the program. These reports are available in standard or HTML format. Users can see category grades, class grades, class final grades, class performance summaries, class attendance, student grades, and scholastic records. In addition, teachers can use the report editor feature to modify report templates or to create their own reports.
The lesson plan feature allows teachers to store information about a lesson. These plans can stand by themselves or may be linked to specific assignments. The lesson plans are not used in any calculation.
The program recognizes three lesson plan strategies: learning, motivational, and evaluation. The strategies must be created prior to being referenced in the lesson plan. Standards may also be linked to a daily lesson plan.
The seating chart feature includes the ability to add student pictures. After a teacher defines the seating chart, the file can be used to enter attendance, notes, and/or discipline incidents. The seating chart may include up to a 10 x 10 grid of 100 students. I am sure (or hope) that is sufficient for most teachers.
Users are able to adjust fonts, screen colors, and text size to improve viewing options. Electronic notepads allow teachers to record comments on students, as well as track or comment on significant grades.
Student demographic information can be configured to include student photographs. Anecdotal teacher comments can be added to records, discipline tracking, and attendance.
There is no limit to the number of grades, categories of grades, periods, terms, or other divisions of the school year within the class. These can be kept for up to a full year.
This is a powerful and user-friendly gradebook program, available as an individual teacher package and a larger network solution for schools and districts. Content/ Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Gradebook2 is extremely easy to use. Upon installation, I was immediately directed to the class setup feature. Setup also can be initiated with the Template Wizard by navigating through the Windows Start and Program settings, then selecting the Gradebook2 program.
Almost everything within this program can be accomplished with one click of the mouse. A Grade Creation wizard helps users to accurately describe and weight grades. The predefined templates and ability to customize terminology makes setting up and using Gradebook2 a dream.
Users at any level of technical expertise will find that this program has been designed for all users, from novice to expert. Elementary school teachers and middle/high school teachers will see that the setup accommodates the scheduling and terminology differences between these educational levels. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Gradebook2 is fully supported by Excelsior Software. The 23-page User's Manual, available as a PDF as part of the installation, is well-written and answers any possible question regarding the program. This manual is also available throughout the program by selecting an icon at the top of the screen; the Help section is indexed and context driven. Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download, is required for access.
Product support is also available with registration and the assignment of an Excelsior Access ID or activation code. Additional support options include access to support staff, Frequently Asked Questions files, upgrades and utilities, and updated documentation. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: Gradebook2 is an amazing product that is easy to use and requires little training. The ability to customize the program to meet the needs of individual teachers makes this an excellent package.
This program is clearly the right tool for teachers at any academic level who wish to simplify their record keeping. Gradebook2 is also the correct tool to facilitate academic conversations between teachers and administrators in making quality data driven decisions. This is record keeping at its best. Highly Recommended.
Reviewer: John Drag Jr., Principal, Broward Community Charter School, 201 University Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33071; 954/341-0082; Jpdrag@aol.com.