Ben Leven created GradeMaster while teaching middle school health in Illinois. When my school district decided to move to a standards based reporting system, I volunteered to begin piloting the new grading system with my students. During that time, there were online gradebooks that the district was using, but nothing seemed to fit in with standards based reporting (SBR) or evidence based reporting (EBR). After two years of jotting notes on paper and using sticky notes as a way to keep my ideas fresh, I began to put the notes to good use. From that point on, I found the “best” qualities for an online standards based gradebook and put them into what is now called GradeMaster.
I collaborated with my colleagues focusing on what teachers do best, rewarding students for what they know as opposed to what they don’t. This is the foundation for what is called standards based grading. This is a change in philosophy, methodology, and overall a change in education as we know it. It is no longer how many extra credit points one can rack up in a quarter, trimester, or semester by bringing in Kleenex for their classroom or by winning a Bingo game, but having the students demonstrate their knowledge about specific material.
Great education comes through superior educators who are able to engage students with active pedagogy, purposeful planning, and authentic learning experiences. The reality is, however, that there exists a struggle between creativity and order. The solution lies in innovation.
GradeMaster standards-based gradebook was designed entirely around the user experience as a teacher in a busy school. It is simple, reliable, and fast. Not only can a teacher see where their students are at all times, but students and parents can see in real-time where they stand on a particular learning standard.
I truly look forward to sharing GradeMaster with other educators around the country and hearing how standards based grading has changed a student’s perception of grades.