If you are considering using some sort of gradebook software but don't want to buy an existing solution, you have the option of creating your own gradebook in Excel. Excel is an excellent tool for manipulating tabular data and doing math calculations which makes it a good candidate for creating a gradebook. In this article we will discuss how to create a gradebook in Excel as well as some of the pros and cons of doing so.
For scenarios where all grades have the same weight, creating a gradebook in Excel is pretty straightforward. Here is an example of an Excel file that can be used to track grades and calculate averages for each student.
As you can see we have a column for student names, a column for each grade, and a column containing the student's average. Technically we can calculate the averages pretty easily by hand, but since Excel makes this easy, we use the AVERAGES() function to calculate our average for us.
This is a quick and easy way to create your own software based gradebook, but it is limited to scenarios where all grades have the same weight.
For many grading scenarios, grades may not all be worth the same weight. Grades may be classified into categories such as tests, quizzes, and homework that each count a different amount toward a student's final grade. Grades within a category may also have different weights. For example, some tests may be worth 100 points, and others worth 50 points.
Weighted grades add an extra level of complexity to grade calculation and increase the potential for human error. This is one of the main reasons to use some sort of gradebook software. Here is an example of an Excel file that can calculate categorized, weighted grades.
Similar to the simpler gradebook, this one has columns for student names and grades, but it also includes columns defining the grading categories and their weights. Each category contains an ID that can be assigned to a grade to identify which category it falls into. The total earned points and total possible points are calculated for each category, and then the overall average is calculated using these values along with the category weights. (In the future I hope to provide some more details as to the specifics of the formulas used in the above example of an Excel gradebook, but for now I will just say that it makes things more complicated.)
This article has shown some examples of how Excel can be used to create your own gradebook software. For very simple scenarios, Excel may be your best option. For grading scenarios involving weighted averages, Excel is still an option but will require an additional level of complexity to implement. If you are looking for a gradebook software that is simple to use and capable of automatically calculating weighted grading averages, you can try GradeGrid for free.