Teaching inquiry, collaboration, and technology through inquiry, collaboration, and technology.

Independent Project Tracking with ActiveGrade

April 11, 2013 One Comment

Next week my Engineering Design students are embarking on their end of year individual design projects.  Their goal is to use the Engineering Design process to design something cool.  My goal is to try to keep track of the progress of 90 different projects.

Last year I used a (way to complex) spreadsheet for each class.  I checked off each part of the project as it was finished, used comments on each cell to write notes, and even tried to use Twiter’s API to import their project Twitter posts into my spreadsheet.  As you might imagine, after 6 weeks this spreadsheet was a complete and useless disaster.

ActiveGrade to the rescue.

This year I’ve figured out a way to use ActiveGrade to allow me to immediately see who is up to date on their project and to keep an easy to follow running record on each student’s project.

Here’s the plan:

I’ve create a new standard in ActiveGrade called ‘Final Project Progress’ and set the rubric’s “mastery levels” as follows:

  1. Project Idea Chosen
  2. Objectives, Criteria, and Constraints Submitted
  3. Initial Design Concept Submitted
  4. Elevator Pitch Completed
  5. Materials Acquired
  6. Built First Prototype
  7. Approved Testing Plan
  8. Tested First Prototype
  9. Design Report Submitted
  10. Presentation Completed

Which are my major checkpoints for the project.


I set the calculation mode to ‘Most Recent’ and the scale to show green for any level above 1.  As the project goes on, I will slide the scale to the left so students that are on-track with each checkpoint have green bars for this standard.  This way I can quickly sort my gradebook by the Final Project Progress standard and see which kids are furthest behind.

If I want to check on one student’s progress and see some details about how her project is going, I can click on that student’s grade to bring up the assessment sidebar (my favorite ActiveGrade feature) and see a full list of all of my updates and comments.


This make it easy to have conferences about progress (“You know that you have been working on preparing your elevator pitch for two weeks right???”) and for me to quickly review what I might have conferenced with a student about two weeks ago and avoid the awkward “You told me that yesterday.”

And that’s not all…

ActiveGrades ‘Recency’ view will allow me to sort the class by when I last conferenced with/gave feedback to each student, so I can quickly see who I haven’t spoken to in a while.  And the ‘Frequency’ view will allow me to make sure I’m not spending all of my time with some kids and ignoring others.

All in all, I think ActiveGrade is going to make tracking 90 projects easier to manage than ever before.

, ActiveGrade, Projet-Based Learning, Technology, Uncategorized

One comment on “Independent Project Tracking with ActiveGrade

  1. Wow, this is awesome.

    I’ve been daydreaming about a way to set up a schedule for a rubric for a couple of years now – this is also how I want to individualize for different students, by making different rubric for different students. But I’m getting ahead of myself – that gets really complex really fast. What you have here is a pretty straightforward way to manage changing expectations!

    I wonder if the new improvement mode will be useful for you: http://activegrade.com/blog/2013/04/new-statistical-view-improvement/

    Thanks for the writeup, Steve. This is awesome.

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