PowerSchool Tips

February 27, 2015

Today’s agenda:

  1. Bonus: formMule Demonstration
  2. Grading Demonstration
  1. Adjusting size
  2. Leaving score comments
  3. Copy assignment
  4. Fill Scores
  5. Check publishing settings
  1. Reports
  2. Individual explorations

Quick Tricks

Fill scores

Keyboard shortcuts [Missing, Exempt, Late, Collected]

Adjust size

Comments

Category Comments

Assignment Comments

Score Comments

A note about links within comments

Weights

Category Weights

Assignment Weights

Publish Dates

Powerschool → Google Calendar

Reports

Category Total Report

Missing Assignment Report

What is PowerSchool good for?

Student Responses

Your Responses


Quick Tricks

Fill scores

You can quickly enter grades for all students (or all students without a score) by right-clicking on the assignment and choosing “fill scores.”

Any box you leave unchecked will not be changed. In particular, if you have grades established, but you want to leave a comment for everyone, check only the comments box!

  1. When is it handy to be able to set grades for an entire class at once?

  1. Find or create an assignment for which you can practice filling scores. Try both “Items with No Score” and “Replace All” options. Experiment with having more than one value checked (“Missing” and “Score: 0” are a good combination).

Keyboard shortcuts [Missing, Exempt, Late, Collected]

It’s a pain to right-click in order to mark a grade as missing, exempt, late, or collected. To keep a good flow when I enter grades, I use the special shortcut keys.

To mark this:

Type this:

Missing

/

Exempt

ex

Late

lt

Collected

.

(You can even define custom score codes through Tools > Preferences. I like to use “--” for my exempt marks. )

Adjust size

Before

The default Powerschool font is tiny. Make it bigger by pressing the following keys:

CTRL

⇑Shift

+

Make it smaller again with these keys:

CTRL

⇑Shift

-

(Press and hold CTRL/SHIFT. Repeatedly press +/- to increase/decrease more)

After

  1. Make your Powerschool as big as it can be. How many times did you press the + key?

  1. Now make Powerschool as small as it can be. How many times did you press the - key?

  1. Find a happy medium. How many steps above the smallest size is best for you?



Comments

There are three places to add comments to assignments in PowerSchool. Each produces a link on the student/parent end that pulls up additional information.

Category Comments

This is the “Description” box when you create or edit a category.

Assignment Comments

This is the “Description” box when you create or edit an assignment

Score Comments

This is created only through the “Score Inspector” or with the Fill Scores shortcut.

Right-Click on the score you want to leave a comment about

Comment box is at the bottom!

A note about links within comments

Pressing the button adjacent to the description box for assignments will allow you to include a link (perhaps to the assignment description) within the comment. You can also include links within score and category comments, using the HTML code:

<a href=" URL HERE " target="_blank">Link Name</a>

I like to comment on missing scores with a link to the student’s assignment, so they can go directly to it when they check their grade.

  1. Pull up the “Quick Lookup” screen for a student in one of your classes.[1] Click on their grade for you class. How many categories have descriptions attached? How many assignments have comments? How many scores?

  1. Pull up a category in Powerschool and write a new description for it.

  1. Pull up an assignment in Powerschool and include a link to the assignment instructions.

  1. Right-click on a student’s score to open the score inspector, and leave a comment explaining their score.

Weights

There are two ways to assign weights in Powerschool: at the category level, and at the assignment level.

Category Weights

Weights set at the category level are further separated by quarter. Have you seen this in the gradebook for any of your students? That’s the result of differences in the Grade Setup between Q3 and S2. This is not necessarily a bad thing -- you may intentionally want to weight those grades differently -- but it is something to be aware of.

Q3 grade set up with the default (total points)

 

S2 grade set up with custom category weights

For my study hall assignments, a student’s overall grade is the sum of “Study Hall Work” category grades and “Being Awesome” category grades. But, since the weights are set at 0% Being Awesome and 100% Study Hall Work, only the Study Hall Work grades will actually contribute to the grade. If instead I wanted their Being Awesome grades to be worth twice as much as the Study Hall Work, I would type a 2 and a 1 in the weight column.

If you have multiple sections of the same course, or many different categories, the  button can be very helpful!

Assignment Weights

Individual assignments can also have a weight associated with them. I have used this when we need to revisit a concept and then retest later -- I kept the first scores, but weighted them lower than the retest scores.

Here, the assignment will be shown as graded out of 10 points, but will only contribute maximum 10x0.40 = 4 points towards the student’s overall grade.

Note that any weighting you assign will not be shown to the students. Instead, a note will be shown as a footnote in powerschool: “This final grade may include assignments that are not yet published by the teacher. It may also be a result of special weighting used by the teacher.”

  1. Check that your Q3 and S2 grades are set up the way you want them for each class.

  1. Find your highest-valued assignment and change the weighing to be 0. Note how the students’ grades are affected, then change it back.

  1. Imagine you have three categories: CatA, CatB, and CatC. Suppose you want CatA and CatB to be weighted the same, but CatC you want to be worth twice as much. Which of the following weights will produce this result?
  • CatA: 10; CatB: 10; CatC: 20
  • CatA: 100; CatB: 100; CatC: 200
  • CatA: 1; CatB: 1; CatC: 2
  • CatA: 25; CatB: 25; CatC: 50

Publish Dates

Sometimes you would like to have your assignments in the gradebook, but not shown to the students. You have four options for when to “publish” an assignment. Unless you choose not to include the assignment in the students’ final grade, in which case a fifth option is available.

Immediately -- Assignment information shows up as soon as you press “Save”

On Specific Data -- Select the data using the calendar on which you want the information to become visible to students.

Days Before Due -- My personal choice. I like to set things to be visible 5 days before they are due

On Due Data -- Assignment information will not show up until the due date.

Never -- This option is only available if the score will not be included in the overall grade.

Note that for each option you can choose whether to publish the scores. Powerschool will let you show only the assignment details (due date, name, description), and keep the score hidden while still contributing to the student’s overall grade.


Powerschool → Google Calendar

Powerschool publishes a calendar for your assignment. Using Google Calendar, you can subscribe to this calendar and see the due dates for published assignments.

Step 1: Go to the “Schedule” page of PowerTeacher -- where you take roll, look to the left under the “Navigate” menu

Step 2: Find the class code for your class. This is the number immediately below the name of your course.

Step 3: Use the code in the text below. Replace the decimal point with a /

http://tvlc.powerschool.com/iCal/120931/CODE/homework.ics

My class code, 54700.14, becomes 54700/14 below:

http://tvlc.powerschool.com/iCal/120931/54700/14/homework.ics

Step 4: Go to your Google Calendar and click on the arrow next to “Other calendars”. A drop-down menu will appear; choose “Add by URL”

Step 5: Paste the text from step 3 where you are prompted for the URL. Remember to check “Make the calendar publicly accessible” before finally adding the calendar.

(Optional Step 6) You can send this calendar to your students by clicking on the calendar and choosing “send to a coworker”. Despite its name, you can share the calendar with anyone who has a gmail address using this option. Students can choose to receive emails for upcoming events on the calendar by editing their notification settings.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to force an update for this calendar. Powerschool pushes the information from your gradebook to the link shortly after you press “Save”, but Google has its own schedule for checking whether the link has been updated.


Reports

There are many reports available through Powerschool. Unfortunately, Powerschool can be a bit buggy when electing to export as CSV, but the PDF option has worked for me consistently. You can access the reports through the top of your gradebook. Here are two useful reports.

Category Total Report

This report has two modes: one for you to see at a glance how your class is doing, and one for students to see how they are doing.

Totals by Section

Unless you want a breakdown for specific students only, use these default options.

Totals by Student

This report won’t produce nice graphs for you, but will list each student’s grade under each category.

Missing Assignment Report

Sometimes, a student just needs to see the list of missing assignments he or she has to make up. The Missing Assignment Report will produce exactly that -- you can even ask for a signature line!

You should be able to always use the “Missing Indicator” option, as long as you are marking missing assignments. Assignments with zeros will not be picked up by this report unless the missing indicator is present.

Be sure to set an appropriate start and end date for your report. Only assignments with due dates in this range will be included.

To add a signature line, click on the “Layout” tab and check the Signature Line box at the bottom.

Neither of these reports can be run for more than one class at a time. Once you have the PDFs, you can print physical copies; I also like to email digital copies to the students, but that is a complicated process.


What is PowerSchool good for?

Student Responses

What do you use PowerSchool for?

What do you wish you could use PowerSchool for?

  • Checking overall grade
  • Checking assignment grades
  • Checking tardies
  • Looking for zeros
  • Checking score comments
  • Looking for how my grade has changed
  • Finding missing assignments
  • Assignment due dates
  • Prioritize work
  • Category breakdown and weights
  • How many zeros
  • Explanation of grade
  • Grade predictions (what do I need on the next assignment to get an A in the class?)
  • Showed how much teachers like me
  • Showed next week’s assignments
  • Export grades to csv for further analysis
  • Better color theme
  • Send an email everytime the grade changes
  • Calculate UC GPA

Your Responses[2]

What is PowerSchool good for?

What do you wish PowerSchool could do?

entering grades

What is PowerSchool good for?

What do you wish PowerSchool could do?

Inputting grades.

Run faster. Run on Chromebooks.

Absolutely nothin'!   Just kidding...  It is helpful for keeping an updated gradebook. It is a lot quicker than keeping records by hand. It is great to have a document that communicates directly to parents.

Grade essays for me. :)

recording grades postiing assignments that should be handed in

graph student results email student and parents easier and with better confidence or really sending

Grading, keeping in contact with parents, checking attendance.

send email to parents.

About $3.89  Just kidding...  Imputing grades, contacting students / parents, weighting grading criteria

My taxes.. (Sorry.  It's Friday)  Grade essays

If students use it correctly, they can keep track of their grades easily and immediately.

Tell students & parents when a student failed something and/or missed something.

Storing grades, announcing and tracking assignments, communicating with students and families.

I wish it could handle use of the backspace to delete text, and make use of ctrl-Z for Undo.

monitoring grades and progress, communication with parents and students, and managing assignments

I wish it could integrate with Flubaroo to automatically post grades  I wish I could quickly see (filtering maybe) a screen that broke out a student's grade by category, to see if it's vocab vs. reading comprehension that's the problem.

Tracking grades, informing parents

Link directly into web page and allow students to submit work

Keep basic grade records for all of my students. Calculate basic statistics for grade/points entered. Taking basic attendance information.

Easy and fast one click access to my grade book. Reliable e-mail distribution.

Grading

carry on assignments to students and back to the teacher

Students grades, keeping in contact with parents, keeping parents and students updated on missing assignments or needs.

Red flag failing students automatically so parents can be contacted.

Keeping track of assignments; keeping track of what students are missing, what they need help with in terms of assignments/assessments.  

Give us an option to mark an assignment as "student absent", instead of just missing, late, etc.  

Keeping track of students and their grades.

Give students a more accurate percentage (00.00%) in order to see how close they are to the next grade.

making pretty pictures...

my grading...

Power School is good for recording scores and notating if assignments are missing, late, or exempt.  It also should tell students if they have turned in assignments.  

I am not sure.   I use it for what I need it to do.

Calculating Grades, Inputting grades, Keeping track of assignments turned in but not yet graded, or assignments missing

Make me a margarita.

Enter grades and check grades

do voice command


[1] From the screen where you choose a class to take attendance in, click the backpack icon (between the knife/fork and printer), then click on a student’s name on the left

[2] Your submissions are being sent to this document with the help of the lovely Add-on docAppender