April 14th, 2022

Teach It Forward: Take It Online with Gradient

Three educators using Gradient online as part of their classroom practices participated in our Teach It Forward series, where they shared some tips and tricks for collecting student data using the Gradient Student Portal.

Leshan Ferguson – 8th Grade Science – Huntington Middle School, GA

Leshan found Gradient when she was seeking out a solution to grade student responses, share data with colleagues, and provide students with timely feedback. After using Gradient in her previous school, she was so excited to bring Gradient to the team at Huntington.

Her goal for Gradient was to be able to provide students with important feedback for self-reflection and monitoring, while also supporting data-driven decisions with her PLC team.

Leshan’s students used both the Student Portal and her own printed scanning forms for completing assessments. Students really appreciated being able to immediately see their results via the Student Portal.

She shared various activities that her department team created using Gradient, such as post-lab assessments and unit assignments that check for understanding based on specific state standards. She even used a gallery walk activity where students moved around the room to explore different physical and chemical changes.

Leshan is an advocate for empowering the students to engage in their own learning process. Using the data that is collected through Gradient, her students are able to review their results and reflect on what they have learned or areas where they may need additional support.

“We want them to be able to use the data, learn to analyze the data, and set those goals!” - Leshan

Students have also trained themselves to look at more than just their scores and pay attention to what they may have missed.

Rebecca Weaver – Physics – Columbian High School, OH

Rebecca has been using Gradient for the past four years to replace an older technology. She and other teachers and Columbian High School were able to get a deeper data analysis, provide individualized feedback to students, and respond to those results more quickly.

Rebecca had transitioned to using Gradient online in order to reduce paper usage since students at her school were 1:1 with Chromebooks. By moving her assignments online, Rebecca was better able to take advantage of timers, allow students to complete assignments at home or school, and adjust what students are able to see for the review window.

A favorite strategy of Rebecca’s is the ability to view student responses In Progress. She can see which students have started, which questions they have completed, and when was their last activity. This helps her to address her students in real-time and track what is happening as students are working on the assignment. She can also quickly address a misunderstanding if she notices multiple students missing the same question.

The best part is “[b]eing able to assess [students] at home, so that they can come back on the same page as everyone else. To make sure they don’t fall behind.” - Rebecca

The additional functions Rebecca gained by moving her assignments online to the Student Portal have made a huge improvement in her ability to provide students with timely feedback. She was also able to further expand the types of questions she used in her Gradient key and better structure her class time for student review of their results.

Heather Simpson – 8th Grade Science – Western Alamance Middle School, NC

After learning about Gradient at a conference, Heather was excited to try it out in order to quickly grade assignments and provide fast feedback to the students. In addition, Gradient offered her an opportunity to expose her students to taking tests online, which was needed in preparation for the end of grade testing by the state.

The math team at her school still liked the printed scan forms, but she was ready to take the next step to delivering assignments online through the Student Portal. A strategy she used to ease her students, as well as other teachers, into taking an assignment online was to create a quick, fun quiz as a practice. This allowed students to see how the assignment worked, but it also showed the teachers how quickly they could see and review results. Students found the practice quiz particularly helpful with understanding the general navigation – without the stress of the assignment counting as a part of their grade.

Heather also shared how the Turn In button has been a huge help when students are completing assignments online. Students may forget to actually turn in the assignment after they have answered all the questions, but Heather was able to verify the student’s progress and then turn in the assignment so that she could finalize grading.

“I will use [Gradient] wherever I go from here on out. It is that handy of a tool!” - Heather

To learn from other Gradient educators in action, check out our Teach It Forward series, view on-demand sessions, or register for upcoming webinar.