When evaluating a gradebook solution for a district, it is important to note benefits in addition to the any features offered. Benefits are less tangible than identifying specific software features and capabilities, but that makes them no less important. The benefits of choosing eSembler are clear.
Since eSembler is wholly Web-based, districts can allow remote access to teacher gradebooks even while the gradebook software remains hosted within the traditional school network. Teachers can access their gradebook from any computer, anywhere in the world, at any time, as long as Internet access is available. Finally, since eSembler is wholly browser-based with no plug-in requirements, there’s no software to download, install, or maintain.
eSembler can use Active Directory or LDAP validation to authenticate all eSembler users and grant permissions providing the highest access security possible. For administrators, this means that once a network user is created, eSembler is able to authenticate the teacher and grant access and permissions transparently, based on a single network identification, using the most stringent security protocols available. eSembler also includes a security feature that will automatically log teachers out of eSembler after prolonged periods of inactivity.
Ease of Use
eSembler’s superior user interface and performance characteristics are key factors contributing the gradebook’s ease-of-use. Most features and functions within the software is just one click away! Previously acquired familiarity with browsers allows for greater user acceptance and reduce end-user training costs. Additionally, because of the depth of information presented in eSembler’s user manual and online help system, teachers are able to quickly find the information they need, paving the way for reduced district helpdesk responsibilities.
All student, grade, and attendance data is securely stored in a central database, updated whenever any changes are made-either by teachers or through information transferred to eSembler from the district Student Information System (SIS). This allows eSembler to provide teachers, administrators, parents, and students with a wide variety of detailed reports generated from the most current information available. Administrators can accurately monitor compliance issues while parents and teachers can better assess student progress and take appropriate steps to aid the learning process.
eSembler can scale to support districts with thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students. With proper configuration, there is no limit to the size of any implementation. This scalability is also important because many schools and districts have implemented a wide variety of customized and packaged administrative applications. With this in mind, eSembler is architected to easily integrate and support data exchange with a limitless number of heterogeneous applications.
Developed from the ground up as a natively Web-based gradebook, eSembler uses proven technologies to ensure that even the most complex tools and reports load quickly, without consuming excessive bandwidth or processing power. And to make sure those performance demands are met, district installations are constantly monitored and remotely managed by eSembler engineers to ensure maximum up time. Even when all teachers access their gradebooks simultaneously, eSembler is architected to meet a district’s demands.
Freeing Teacher Time
Teachers wish they could spend more time teaching. However, today most spend a significant amount of time grading assignments, communicating material to students, explaining expectations, and ensuring that students are fulfilling state and district educational requirements. eSembler simplifies the processes, dramatically reducing the time spent on these tasks so that teachers can spend their valuable time working with students. Anecdotal evidence shows that the use of electronic gradebooks like eSembler can save teachers up to four (4) classroom days a year in administrative overhead.
Powerful, rules-based templates provide districts the tools needed to enforce mandatory district-wide compliance with grading policies on a class-by-class basis. Settings are defined using a series of templates managed by the eSembler engineering team, but based on curriculum and grading policy decisions delivered by district administrators. These templates can control grading scales, category-related information names and weights, and rules pertaining to data submitted by teachers at the end of a progress reporting or grade reporting period. Through these templates, districts are provided the ability to personalize the behavior of teacher gradebooks allowing for greater assurances of compliance to district grading policies, while not restricting the assignment level grading methods of individual teachers.
Teacher Defined Grading Practices
Although district policy enforcement is available, depending on the grading policies set forth by curriculum committees, teachers can also be empowered to manage their own grading practices including managing assignment categories, setting grading rules to control assignment characteristics like dropped scores, and designating assignment characteristics that define how many times an assignment might count toward a student average. Teachers can be demanding in their requirements; eSembler meets those demands—every single time.
Simple to Manage
eSembler’s architecture allows districts to maintain a single software installation, managed centrally within the district data center. By running and maintaining fewer systems, districts can reduce maintenance costs, while increasing reliability, efficiency, and flexibility. This centralized architecture means that updates and upgrades are distributed automatically to all teachers, administrators, parents, and students, reducing administrative responsibilities.
eSembler uses Microsoft SQL Server for database storage, one of the most popular enterprise-class database on the market today. Because of the open nature of SQL Server and eSembler’s normalized data structures, a district can use applications like Crystal Reports® to tap into information stored within eSembler allowing for unlimited district-level reporting as well as opportunities to integrate customized or out-of-the-box applications. Finally, since eSembler is written entirely using Microsoft technologies including .NET and TSQL, proprietary development concerns are never an issues for districts requiring maximum flexibility.
Grade information stored in eSembler is presented in real-time. This means that when assignment grades are modified by a teacher, administrators and parents can immediately view any changes—right as they happen! There are no files to upload or download allowing for improved communication channels that require no work on the part of the teacher.
No Class Setup
Since eSembler is integrated with the district Student Information System, it’s easy for teachers to start using the gradebook right away. All class, student, schedule, and roster information is automatically available when teachers login to eSembler. This data is updated frequently with the latest district information according to timing preferences set by the district. This means that when students enter or leave a class, teachers can be immediately notified. In fact, to start using eSembler, teachers need only login to start creating and grading assignments.
Student accountability is enhanced when parent and student access is enabled within eSembler. Districts have the ability to allow parents or guardians to log into eSembler to view their own students’ grades—as long as they have a Web browser and Internet access. Upon logging in, using their unique username and password, parents and guardians are presented with a list of their own students enrolled in the district. Only those children associated with the parent or guardian are displayed. When a student is selected, the parent is presented with a list of classes associated with the student. Clicking on a class name presents a report detailing student profile information, parent profile information, student averages, assignment scores, class averages, category information and averages, attendance information, and teacher comments.