When I started using SBG, the gradebook my district used was not compatible with my grading system so I paid for an ActiveGrade subscription from my own pocket. I posted overall letter grades in the district system but grade details were in ActiveGrade. Students and parents were able to log in and see their grades but the biggest complain I got was, “I don’t like having to look at two gradebooks.” That was a completely valid complaint. As a teacher, I didn’t like having to keep track of two gradebooks.
I moved districts this year and my new district uses PowerSchool. I had no experience with PowerSchool so I asked my Tech Department if it could work with SBG. Luckily my Tech Department is awesome and put in a lot of time with me to get it up and running. I know a lot of districts use PowerSchool so here is a rundown of how you can make PowerSchool work with SBG.
The only catch is, you can’t do this on your own. You need to make friends with your district’s PowerSchool administrator. Once you and your PowerSchool administrator are best buds, you can jump right in!
STEP 1: Get your targets in the system
SBG is centered around your learning targets, so that is where you need to start. Get your PowerSchool administrator a list of your learning targets so he or she can put them into the system. This is where you want to plan ahead because you cannot edit these yourself. Be nice to your tech people and give them everything at once so they don’t have to keep going back in to add things. If your targets are coded, make sure to tell your tech team to include the code in the target description otherwise students will not see it.
STEP 2: Plan your rubric
Your rubric is the scale you use to grade each target. I use a “not yet”, “almost”, “got it” system which translates to “0”, “1”, “2” in my gradebook. You need to have numbers and percentages for PowerSchool to calculate your grade. I use “0%”, “50%” and “100%” respectively. PowerSchool will calculate a final grade across all of your targets using these percentages. If you are a percent mastery grader, you would want to make your mastery level worth 100% and everything else worth 0%. This is something your PowerSchool administrator needs to set up and assign to all of your learning targets.
STEP 3: Set your standard grade calculation method
Finally, something you can do! In your PowerTeacher gradebook, go to the ‘Tools” dropdown menu and click “preferences.” Go to the “standards” tab.
Check the boxes I have checked and set your calculation method. PowerSchool can do mean, weighted mean, median, highest, mode and most recent. Click “OK.” I don’t use higher level standards or “power standards” but you could set that up as well.
STEP 4: Add your targets to the grading quarter
This is the easiest step to forget and PowerSchool will not calculate final grades without it. In your PowerTeacher gradebook, click the “Grade Setup” tab and double-click the grading quarter you are currently in to bring up the settings.
Click the radio button for “Term Weights/Standards Weights” and then click “Add Standards.” This will bring up a dialog box where you can check all the targets you want to be calculated into the final grade. You can always go back and change this later.
STEP 5: Enter Grades!
You now have a gradebook. Yay! It’s time to meet your new best friend, the standards drawer. In your PowerTeacher gradebook, go to your “Assignments” tab and create a new assignment.
Make sure your assignment is out of zero points and use the “standards” tab to tie learning targets to the assignment. Save the assignment and go to your “Scoresheet” tab.
You will notice a box with an “S” in it appears with your assignment. Click that box to open your standards drawer. This is where you can put in your grades for each learning target for your assignments. NOTE: The box turns green when all of your students have grades for the assignment. Once you enter assignment grades, your gradebook should start calculating final grades for your students.
The “Scoresheet” tab has some nifty views for analyzing all of the data you are collecting. If you click the “Final Grades” button, you can see how your class is doing on each of your learning targets. If you click the “Student View” button, you can track the progress of individual students on their learning targets.
For reassessments, I make an assignment called “Unit X Reassessment 1” and tie all the targets in that unit to the assignment. As students reassess individual targets, I add the grades to this assignment. If a student reassesses a target from a unit more than once, I make a new assignment called “Unit X Reassessment 2” and record scores there. That makes it easy for me to see how many times a particular student has reassessed a single target.
STEP 6: Tell your students
Lastly, let your students know they can now see their standards-based grades in PowerSchool. You may need your PowerSchool provider to turn on the “standards tab” so students and parents can see scores for their learning targets when accessing PowerSchool from a browser. The app has a “standards tab” built in.
Good luck! Please comment with any questions or clarifications.