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If you missed signing up for the webinar that took place on August 14th from Media-X and the Marzano Research Laboratory, you missed a lot.

The webinar was a success, attracting over 350 attendees from all over the United States and Canada.  Media-X’s own Steve Moretti, Andy Statia and Paul Shuster were on hand to present and highlight all of the key features you can expect to see from the Marzano Gradebook.  Dr. Robert Marzano also took part in presenting, and answered a slew of difficult questions about Standards-Based Grading and Powerlaw with extreme ease.

Wrapping up the webinar

Wrapping up the webinar

It was great to have Dr. Marzano on hand to spread some of his vast knowledge to all the attendees.  We even learned a lot too.

While replicating the entire presentation in this article would be impossible, here are the three most important points addressed via the webinar:

 

Standards Based Grading Explained

Standards-Based Grading is becoming a hot topic in the United States.  This topic was delved into a lot, and actually made up a bulk of the presentation.  Not a surprise considering the Gradebook was built for this type of grading system.  Dr. Marzano explained some of the key differences between this Standards-Based grading and the traditional grading method (A – F, or percentages constituting a total mark based on assignments, assessments etc.).  The main differences between the two grading methods, as explained in the webinar, is that Standards-Based Grading gives students a number of marks which act as a representation of their proficiency in each of the skills assessed.  This is instead of a singular mark for each subject based on a singular mark that encompasses everything, but doesn’t explain exactly what was learned by the individual.

Everything is graded on a 4 point scale which, as Dr. Marzano pointed out,  should actually be called a 5 point scale due to the fact that there are actually 5 points.  In this scale, 0 is the lowest and students achieving this score have been viewed as being unable to perform the task at all, even with assistance.  A score of 1 is given to students who are unable to perform a specific task without help.  2 is given to those with achievements below expectations, while a 3 is the ideal level that teachers will hope their students will meet.  4 is an above and beyond, given only to those who excel at the subject.  Students are given these points based on what are called Achievement Topics and Non-Achievement Topics, with achievement topics constituting the main lessons of the subject in question, and non-achievement topics based on other aspects.  An example of the other aspects could be effort, participation and attendance.  This is just a small sample of what was discussed on the subject on Standards-Based grading.  If you are interested in further information on this grading method, here are some useful links:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership

http://www.marzanoresearch.com/resources/tips/fasbg_tips_archive

One of the features of the Gradebook offers a graph view of each individual student's grades.  The power law is the gold line in this graph.

One of the features of the Gradebook offers a graph view of each individual student’s grades. The power law is the gold line in this graph.

 

Power Law integration with the Gradebook

The Marzano Standards-Based Gradebook utilizes Power Law in its grading system.  Power Law, in a sense, models the fact that as a person, everyone will learn and improve over time. If looking at a graph, the line will begin with a steep incline before eventually evening out over time.  Power Law represents just how much a student has learned and can estimate what they will learn in the future.  Dr. Marzano pointed out that a grade, which is representative of how a student has improved over time is much more indicative of a student’s achievement level than a traditional grade.

More information on Power Law can be found by clicking on the external links of this Wikipedia article.

 

The Marzano Gradebook in Action

The most important part of the webinar was the unveiling of the Marzano Gradebook.  I have seen bits and pieces of the program over the past couple months, but this was the first time I was able to see it in action, and it looked amazing.  Developer, Andy Statia, has done a fantastic job on this.

Andy also took the reigns and allowed attendees to see the Gradebook in action via a demonstration.  The responsiveness and fluidity of the program is phenomenal, and what it can do is essentially unrivalled.

Some of the major features of the Gradebook explored included the ability to easily implement standards-based grades. It was also revealed that if you prefer or are stuck using the status quo, there is the ability to use the more traditional grading method.  Yes, it may be called the Marzano Standards-Based Gradebook, but it is built to also work with the regular grading system.

Some other key features covered include:

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“Heat Map” view of student grades from a final exam. Highlights individual marks via color, Green is good, Red is bad.

    • It keeps track of all grade statistics for each student, each assessment, assignment, etc.
    • It compiles grades of each student into a “heat map”.  Whereas Green is good and Red constitutes a poor mark.  This makes it easier for teachers to see what each student requires help with.
    • A calendar to organize your class workload efficiently is included
    • It has the ability to generate a power law grade, nothing else can do this currently

There are so many features to this program, but those are the only ones we were able to see thus far.

We expect the gradebook will be fully ready to go this January, but currently, we are allowing interested parties to test out the Beta version of the software.  If you or your school is interested in trying the Beta or finding out more on the Marzano Gradebook, please click the Start Now button at the top of this page.  Input your information, then in the Comment section, enter your interest in the Gradebook.

The webinar exceeded our expectations, and we hope to bring you more like it in the near future.

 

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