customer story

Marquette University High School


Teachers at Marquette University HS needed a solution to support “Minding the Gap” between assessment and feedback. They understood the value of providing timely feedback to best support student learning.


As a simple-to-start solution, Gradient enabled teachers to immediately share student results to support classroom discussions in order to clear up misunderstandings and discover areas of need.


Marquette reduced costs associated with previous programs and gained fast results for student feedback. The solution was so simple each teacher could get started right away, and continue to expand with additional functionality to further grow their teaching practices with Gradient over time.

Milwaukee, WI

College Preparatory School






Faculty to Student

At Marquette University High School, Gradient has been a part of the school environment since 2013. Teacher and school edtech specialist, Joe Cavanaugh, shared about the implementation of Gradient as a means to “Mind the Gap.” The team at Marquette focused on how to decrease the amount of time from assessment to feedback – the shorter, the better. The options available before Gradient were limited to a machine grader or grading the papers by hand, which typically required a minimum of 24 hours in order to provide feedback.

With Gradient, as soon as students completed assessments, teachers were able to immediately address student responses. “I have got this rich data reporting that lets me remediate and clarify, and sometimes even lets me say we are going to do this again tomorrow,” said Joe. He knew it was important to address those areas of needs quickly, while it was still fresh in his students’ minds.

As an added bonus, Joe and his team found there was a great cost reduction in transitioning to Gradient. He determined that it was costing the school at least $0.10 per sheet for machine that was consistently breaking, jamming, and just not working.

Teachers were first introduced to Gradient during a faculty meeting, where they could experience the basic capabilities and the beneficial solutions it offered. Joe shared that since Gradient supported the steps teachers were already taking, the translation to how it could work in their classrooms was very natural.

“When we did the gradebook demo and it put the grades into their gradebook, there were gasps from teachers. It’s so easy, it looked like magic.”

A particular “hook” that Joe used to encourage teachers when training on the solution, was how simple it was to go from a non-user to a Gradient user. “With just a half hour of training, [teachers] will be able to create an assignment, make an answer key, print the forms, scan it, and transfer the grades,” shared Joe. “And for a teacher, that is an easy yes.” Teachers were able to start using Gradient quickly and easily to reap fast benefits.

Gradient experiences were also able to grow from how Marquette completed final exams. At the end of the term, finals would be proctored by another teacher, not by the teacher of record for the class. This practice naturally gave teachers that may have been reluctant to use Gradient a chance to see how it worked.

Paul Fleisch, a teacher with the science department, shared how his department included some of the early adopters. He believed that that could be attributed to “the nature of science, to not just see that it was wrong, but why it was wrong.” Since Gradient was able to lay that out so simply, it really offered more opportunities to better understand what the students were learning.

Easy Management

Joe is one of the Gradient leaders for the school account and is able to support teachers with roster management and account settings. Since he is able to set up all the class rosters ahead of time, once teachers get into Gradient, there is nothing else they need to do. This “clears what could be a barrier to use for the teacher,” said Joe.

As the manager of the account, he felt that even that process was simple enough for anyone to understand. Joe appreciated all the different support resources on the website, and the ability to easily reach out to the support team.

“It’s not that everything isn’t going to go super smoothly, but when it doesn’t, [Gradient] is there to help.”

As long time users of Gradient, seeing and being a part of how Gradient has evolved has been very exciting at Marquette, but at the same time each new feature has been a very smooth transition. And they are really excited to see what will come next within the solution to continue to allow the teachers to grow.

Easy Floor with a High Ceiling

With Gradient, the teachers at Marquette found that it was easy to start and “has a high ceiling” of additional capabilities that they can use. Joe shared that since it was so easy to start Gradient, teachers were encouraged to just be a user, then work through to expand and do more with the solution. He was able to provide additional training sessions to support teachers with more functionality, like learning versions, adding standards, exploring different question types, and digging into reports.

“Having a good foundation of best practices that you share with teachers at the start,” said Joe, ‘would further help foster success using Gradient.”

Providing the teachers with a defined and easy-to-follow path can help them become more comfortable and avoid getting stuck or frustrated. Since Paul was experienced with Gradient in his classroom, he was also able to present and share his experiences and strategies with others.

Now, and as Marquette continues into the future, Paul and Joe would like to support teachers with taking further advantage of the deeper functionality of Gradient to transform their current teaching practices. Since much of the staff is already on board, and most students are familiar with the solution at the base level, now is the opportunity to grow within the solution.

Clear Right Choice

When Joe and Paul reflected on the implementation of Gradient, they knew that once teachers started using Gradient, they wouldn’t go back to the old way. As Joe put it, “it was the clear right choice.” To sum up Gradient as an assessment solution, Paul stated, “if I was trying to tell somebody why I was using it, ultimately, it’s just a better solution.”

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