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Tuesday
May032011

Updates to GradeA and Attendance and summer plans

Apple approved updates to GradeA and Attendance last week. GradeA 1.0.1 includes a minor bug fix so it does not include negative scores when calculating the median for an assessment. Negative scores are not include in a student's grade so you can use a negative value to indicate assessments a student missed but you do not want to include in the grade. Version 1.0.1 also adds keyboard shortcuts for moving between the tabs. See GradeA's Window menu for the keyboard shortcuts.

Attendance 4.4 adds new options for sorting names and for what is displayed below the student name while taking attendance. On the Add/View tab, each time you press the Sort button it alternates by sorting by one of four options:

  1. By last name and then by first name.
  2. By first name and then by last name.
  3. By the student identifier.
  4. By the student note (not the daily student note).

An alert dialog indicates the current sort order after you press the Sort button. You can still manually re-order the students by pressing the Edit button and then dragging the names into the order you want using the handles on the right side of the screen.

The Take Note setting (Quit the Attendance application, launch the iOS's Settings application, scroll down and select Attendance. There you will see the various options.) now allows you to choose whether to display the student ID (identifier) or the student note or the daily student note. I've heard from a number of people in Japan and other Asian countries saying that they use the student ID for attendance purpose so the options to sort by ID and display the ID should help them.

I'm considering trying to write an iPad version of GradeA while I have some time this summer. I've spent a few hours trying to design a decent iPad interface for it and so far I haven't sketched anything that I think is great, but have one or two ideas that might work reasonably well. So far, sales of GradeA for the Mac have been slow, but that's not too surprising given the timing of its release. I'm curious to see how sales are in August and September as teachers in the U.S. head back to school.

If you would be interested in an iPad version of GradeA, please send me an email to help me gauge interest. Like the Mac version it would also be $15 given the limited number of copies it would sell and that it will require completely rewriting the Mac version for the iPad user interface. A number of people have asked about grading functionality for Attendance. I still don't think I can design a reasonable interface for Attendance on the iPhone/Touch so I'm unlikely to do that. I've also had one request for attendance functionality in GradeA. I may try to add that to the Mac version of GradeA this summer.

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Reader Comments (10)

Very nice program. Just moving to Mac and looking for a program to replace my windows gradebook (Class Action). Very impressed, but I need the attendance function and would very much like to have an iOS version on my iPad.

Don't apologize about the price; it's quite reasonable! :-)

May 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I'm planning to add basic attendance functionality to GradeA this summer and will probably support importing records from my iOS Attendance app (which you could of course use now on your iPad for attendance functionality :-). The attendance functionality in GradeA won't include all the features of my iOS Attendance app since I've spent about six months of full-time work on it (i.e., I won't have time this summer to add all those features).

I'll be prototyping the design of an iPad version of GradeA in the next few weeks. I'll make another blog post once I know if it's likely I'll be able to get a version completed this summer.

I'm glad you think the price is reasonable. Most people that complain about app prices don't understand all the time and effort it requires to write and support an app. For niche apps such as teaching apps, it's unlikely I'll ever sell more than a few thousand copies given that many schools have standardized on systems for grading and attendance.

May 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave256

Dave,

If there was an ipad app, i'd buy it in a heartbeat. Really. I've been using attendance (and troubleshooting with you) for almost three years and love it. If you did this for the ipad, I'd most likely end up buying both the ipad and mac versions. I fact, i was just in the ipad app store looking at gradebook apps, not happy with what i was finding, and came to your page to see if this was in the works. I'm really glad to see you are considering it!

Please let me know if you decide to develop an ipad app! I am a very happy customer and owuld buy it the day itcame out.

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKhalil

Dave,
I have been teaching for 15 years. I was a Palm pilot user, using Teacher's PET as my primary grade/markbook. Recently I upgraded to an iPhone, I have tried all the programs out there. Unfortunately, they are either way too complicated to use, or they have program errors thus rendering the program unreliable, and therefore useless. Your MAC program looks solid. I love the ability to be able to adjust the letter grades according to my board's marking scheme. I like the ability of being able to print off a student report. ( I would love to see a whole class one-page report with student names in the first column, and assignments in the others with the final column with the overall average). As I have not been able to find a suitable marks program for my iPhone, I would love to be able to utilize your program on my iPad. I would purchase it in a second, as long it would allow the user to print off those student reports. I know of many other teachers with newly purchased iPads that are also in need of a dependable, easily understood marks program, GradeA is that program. Please keep me posted.
Until then I will continue to use experiment with your MAC version.

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLammer

Dave,
I cannot locate the HELP file that you mention that is available for both paid version and the demo version. I am looking for explanation on the three grading choices and some guidance to which one I need to choose. I would like to have all my assignments be of equal weight, but enter them in with various total marks. (ie. test1 was out of 35, test2 was out of 20, project1 was out of 25, etc.)
thanks
Lammer

May 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLammer

Launch either version of GradeA and the right most menu option is Help and choose the GradeA Help option. Unfortunately the one option my app doesn't have is what you want. If you want all assignments to be of equal weight, you need to use the "Weighted average of categories" option with one category and enter the scores as the percentage (i.e., if a student got 18/20 on a test, you would need to enter 90).

Also, the "Export CSV report" option gives you a CSV file you can open in a spreadsheet that has the report you're asking about.

May 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave256apps

Hi Dave, I'm a highschool teacher and I like your attendance app. I found a free app titled "easytext" can do nice things that textexpander does, and I like it, too. So can you consider add easytext support? textexpander costs too much comparing to this free app. Thanks.

Cheers
Thomas

May 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertom

To Thomas:
Supporting multiple different snippet expanders would be a significant
hassle as the Attendance app has a fairly large number of text fields
where snippet expansion is supported (each one would need changes for
each snippet expander I supported).

I also want to continue to see great apps developed for the iOS
platform and if people aren't willing to pay even a few dollars, the
quality and variety of apps will decrease. I like a free app as much
as the next person, but I also like supporting companies that develop
great software so they stay in business. If you have a Mac, the
ability to copy your snippets from the TextExpander on a Mac to the iOS
device is a very nice feature. I prefer to support the
original app developer rather than the app that copies the other
idea. Of course, if the second app adds better features while the
first does not, that makes the situation a little different.

I have not received any money to provide TextExapnder support and
purchased the app myself. In the past they have occasionally
offered TextExpander for $1.99 so you may want to watch to see
if they have another sale. And given how close we are to Apple's
developer conference (WWDC is next week), I'd wait to see if they
announce any features for iOS 5 that may alleviate the need for
snippet expansion software.

May 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave256apps

Dave ...

Are there any plans to include an option of a class grade report rather than individual students? When I turn in grades to the university, they want a single "roster" with the final grades; I don't see that Grade A allows for printing of such report.

To echo another post, yes i would be interested in an iOS GradeA AND a OS-X Grade A with attendance, especially if they talk to each other.

Thanks for the work! You may not be getting rich, but you are appreciated!

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

Carl,

While there isn't a direct option to print a single roster, if you press the "Export CSV report" button on the "Reports" tab, you'll get a CSV file containing the information you want that you can easily open and print from a spreadsheet.

I'm getting close to completing adding attendance features to GradeA. I hope to have it done this month (June 2011), but there won't be enough time this summer for me to make much progress on an iPad version of GradeA. I'll also be making a few updates to my iOS Attendance app and it appears I will need to make a few more changes to GradeA for Lion so that will take up the time I have this summer before I need to start getting ready for my fall classes.

Dave

June 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdave256apps
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