2 Minute iPhone App Review: GradePad

The iPhone/iTouch is overflowing with Apps dedicated to the classroom, but only a few actually serve to help teachers manage their classroom, kids, or data.  Portage Interactive has seen fit to provide teachers with an in-hand assessment tool aimed to make on-the-fly grading a cinch.

Teachers can start assessing right after install, due to Portage’s forsight in pre-loading it with standard assessments.  Assessments focus on Interpersonal relationships, Teamwork, Presentation, and Project identifiers.  Teachers can easily add in their own assessments to fit whatever needs they may have.

The program takes a rubric approach, offering grading choices based on a 4 point rubric (with the option to use the Dr. Marzano-inspired “0”).  This offers a lot of flexibility, especially for elementary districts who have adopted Standards-Based grade reporting.

Grades are inputted as simply as tapping on the appropriate grade next to the identifier.  Teachers can add individual students in for persistant grading, or create groups based on in-class projects.  Groups offer the teacher the ability to assign grades to a single student based on their interpersonal work in the group, and then to the entire group as a whole.  All grading groups allow the user the ability to append comments, as well.

What really stands out in this system is the ability to e-mail the results of an assessment to another teacher, or yourself.  Teachers can choose to e-mail the results, which appear in the e-mail inbox of their choice as a specific, easy-to-read report.  

While a simple program, GradePad has many possibilities.  Assuming you’re in a District/school that has adopted student-use iTouch’s, you can truly empower students by giving them the chance to assess each other.  Imagine you have students working in groups, creating presentations on a particular planet or early colony.  Students can enter each other into their GradePad App on their own iTouch, and as work progresses in the group, they can assess each other, in real time, and even provide comments on why a student received a particular score.  At the end of the week, the student can simply tap, “E-Mail Results,” and have that assessment mailed to the teacher instantly.

Pros: 4-point Rubric, decent pre-loaded assessments, ability to create new assessments, e-mailing of results
Cons: Buttons can be non-responsive to bigger fingers, e-mailing of results requires setup of an account through iPhone’s mail system
Price: $1.99

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