Monthly Archives: July 2015

Autocrat for Reassessments

If you are switching to a standards-based grading system, you might be thinking “how I am going to handle reassessments?!” If any student can reassess any learning target at any time, things can get messy. My solution to reassessments my first two years of using SBG was having students line up at my desk so I could think of a question off the top of my head and write it on a post-it note. I tried having them sign up on a notepad ahead of time and making the reassessments the day before but that lasted about a week. At the end of a grading quarter, my desk basically looked like this:

Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but close. I knew there had to be a better way to organize reassessments that would not be horribly time consuming; enter technology. A colleague of mine introduced me to a nifty Google Sheets add-on called Autocrat. Autocrat is your documenting making/merging assistant and your new reassessment guru. Autocrat allows students to schedule a reassessment with you using a Google Form and then takes the information from that form and puts it in a Google Document using a template you provide. All you have to do it open the document, insert a question, print.

Here is how it works:

You will need a basic knowledge of the Google Drive Suite for this tutorial.

First, go make yourself a Google Form for your students to use to schedule reassessments. Mine looks something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.16.45 PMNext, make a new Google Document to serve as your reassessment template. Every reassessment you make will use this template so it should include useful information like the student’s name, the date, and the learning target being assessed (information that should be collected by the form). Mine looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.23.09 PM

You might be wondering “what is going on with “<<>>” around certain words.” These are called merge tags. You want to put a merge tag around any information that can be pulled from the form you made earlier. Anything with a merge tag around it will be different for each reassessment. Don’t worry about your template wording matching your form wording, we will fix that later.

Now comes the fun part! Open the Google Sheet that contains the responses to the form you made. If you haven’t already, you need to add-on Autocrat. Do that using the “Add-Ons” menu in Sheets. Got Autocrat? Good.

From the “Add-Ons” menu, launch Autocrat and click “New Merge Job.” Click the “Drive” button to select the template you made earlier. On the next screen, it will ask you to match your merge tags from your template with the form questions that provide the appropriate information. This is what my match-up looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.32.06 PM

Save that and move on to the next screen. Now you need to decide how you are going to name all of the reassessment files that Autocrat creates. I suggest using the student’s name, the learning target being assessed, and the date. Copy/paste the $tags at the top of the screen that correspond to the values you want in the file name. Mine looks like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 1.37.20 PM

All of my reassessment files will be named with the convention “last name, first name:learning goal – date” You can expand the “Advanced” options to select a folder in your drive to dump all of these new files in and you can check the “run autocrat when new forms are submitted” box to automate the process. Click “Save” and you are done!

Go test you new automated reassessment creator by filling out your form. Autocrat will add a link to your spreadsheet to the new reassessment document it created. This document will also be in the folder you specified earlier. What you do with this document is up to you.

You can print it and handwrite the reassessment question. I am personally going to type the reassessment question right into the document and then copy/paste that question into a master question bank spreadsheet. If your school is 1:1, you can just share the reassessment document with the student. My school isn’t quite 1:1 yet so I am going to print the reassessment and stick it in a folder at my self-serve reassessment station. When the student is free to reassess, he or she will come in, grab the reassessment, take it and turn it in.

No more lines at my desk and no more piles of post-it notes!

If you are feeling really techy, you can go to the “Tools” drop-down menu on your spreadsheet and select “notification rules.” You can set up a daily digest that tells you about any reassessment requests submitted that day.

Happy te(a)ching!