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I'm curious to know if you (or anyone else reading/contributes to this site) has experience with "Unrulr," an Instagram-style app that allows students to share artifacts documenting learning and growth. I have used a growth (not "grade") tracker in my high school English classes for a while now, and I'm looking for something more interactive and flexible than a simple table in a Google Doc. Unrulr seems like it might fit the bill, but it's relatively new and I can't find a lot of information from users on their experience.

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I've never heard of this, but in higher ed this kind of thing would be immediately suspect for possibly causing FERPA violations. Nothing against the app, again I know nothing about it, but from experience working with IT people, anything that involves internet-based sharing of student work that is not under the direct control of the IT Department is going to be discouraged. Not sure what it's like in the K12 universe but higher ed is justifiably pretty jumpy about things like this.

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Fair point, Robert. Thank you! I'll continue exploring ways to make my Google doc trackers more flexible and effective.

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I like the tracker idea a lot and tried doing it more as an activity tracker not to bring in the grade sentiment but ultimately if you are required to give a grade at the end I end up with a big challenge. How do you resolve the final grade when students’ tracked progress don’t end up in the same grade bin for different categories of work. Within the same category it is easy to build a summative system but how do you combine different categories if you don’t want to go to percentage weights? I tried utilizing the plus and minus designation of the letter grades for that purpose but that immediately takes everyone back to a bean counting focus for grades. Any suggestions?

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Taking a look at the first example (from my Calculus 2 class): A student could end up in the "A" category for Core targets, but only "C" for Supplementary and Guided Practices. If so, they've earned a "C", because that's the only set of requirements they've fully satisfied. (This is why it's really important to only include items that really are essential for that grade.)

This is definitely a common student question. I usually run students through a few scenarios some time in the first week of class, and ask them to figure out what grade each example student earned. I intentionally include one like this, and use it to explain why each item is required to earn a grade -- and if it's missing, that grade can't be earned.

Does that address what your question -- or are you thinking of a different situation?

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Thanks. Yes, this was the scenario I was thinking and defaulting to the minimum grade category with an explanation of why, certainly simplifies the system. I saw how Robert set up a way to incorporate plus and minus adjustments at the end for his course. Do you have any suggestions of an alternative way that might work with a tracker?

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Jun 19, 2023·edited Jun 19, 2023Author

I don't usually include +/- grades in the grade tracker. Since they're adjustments at the end, I might include a separate part of the page for tracking whatever contributes to that (e.g. completing ungraded items like class prep). But for the most part, I prefer to remind students but not have them worry too much about that.

Side note: I wouldn't call this "defaulting to the minimum" with students. Both in terms of building trust, and communicating the purpose of the grades, I'd focus on how each grade has a list of requirements, and you can only earn a grade by fulfilling ALL of those requirements. So they're not losing out on a higher grade... they're fulfilling the requirements of (only) a lower one.

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"Grade trackers can provide students with a roadmap of what they need to do to achieve a desired final grade."

Wouldn't a "learning tracker"be better than a "grade tracker?" We should be encouraging students to focus on learning, not grades. The question they should ask is "How can I improve my learning," not "How can I improve my grade."

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