Engrade is a platform that brings together a school’s learning management system (LMS) and education assessment tool into a single platform thereby making it easier for teachers, administrators, principal, students and parents to access instructional materials for the students as well the grades for student performance for different kind of assessments. Engrade allows parents and students to view student’s homework and grades by using individual login name and passwords.
The tool will allow users like teachers, students and parents to view the classes of students, teachers’ names for each class and the current grades of the students. Engrade which is currently owned by McGraw-Hill Education is a product generally used by all K-12 district schools.
School Learning Management System
If one were to ask how Engrade is different from a learning management system? The answer is that Engrade integrates learning management system and student assessment tool. For instance, a school can have its own content management system and there are educational assessment tools like PARCC, SBAC and the Common Core.
Engrade integrates these two applications which makes it easier for schools to have district level reports on student performance for different assessments, examine the results of students either school-wise or district-wise and even project visualization of powerful data.
Engrade Pro which is an upgraded version of the platform has a variety of features and settings that can be useful for schools and school districts. For instance, it allows users to export different kinds of data like grade book data, attendance data, assignment data, etc.
There are individual features that are applicable to teachers which including assignments, attendances, lesson plans, grade books, classes, etc. Similarly, features are available for school administrators, district administrators, parents, students, etc. While Engrade Pro allows teachers to enter grades directly into report cards of students as well as in the grade book, it also has many disadvantages.
For instance, Engrade Pro is not supported well by the mobile app. Students, teachers, and parents would like to have a platform that can be accessed across different devices like tablets, smartphones, PC, laptop,s or MAC using a standard browser. This can ensure ease of access from any device from anywhere and anytime.
For example, students and parents should be able to view grades or even timetables or class schedules using a mobile app while teachers should be able to write comments or feedback on students’ assignments on the go even when traveling using a mobile or tablet app. The ease with which an application or platform can be accessed using different devices makes it effective in terms of usability.
User-friendliness is another aspect that can influence how effective an application or platform is. Generally, when an app or platform is not user-friendly, people are less likely to continue using it. User-friendliness is measured in terms of graphics user-interface and can also include the ease with which an application or platform can be used by not making tasks complex.
Since many users report issues with user-friendliness in case of Engrade Pro, there are chances that people may find it less effective with its usage. However, another problem to quit using a platform like Engrade Pro is the hesitancy to try a new one. People may demonstrate resistance to change as migrating to another similar platform may seem next to impossible, complex or even costly and time-consuming.
Nevertheless, there are other platforms similar to Engrade Pro but powerful enough with usability features and user-friendliness. For instance, ThinkWave Administrator which is a streamlined alternative to Engrade Pro is a school administration system that provides real-time solutions such as up-to-date progress reports, real-time attendance reports, flexible grading options, and free custom reports for the school.
Since the Engrade Pro app is free it has many problems that users complain of like the user interface, quiz creation, lack of easy usability, etc. Engrade Pro app is free but not the platform which generally works well on the computer in which it is downloaded but not on all other devices like smartphones, tabs, laptops, etc.
The only challenge for change is that users who have already used Engrade Pro will have their inhibitions with respect to ThinkWave Administrator. Users who would have already used Engrade Pro and have seen issues or problems with it may presume that even another app or software can have similar or different problems. That’s the reason why ThinkWave offers a one-month free trial for users to try and see if it meets their needs. Schools and users who are happy with the product can opt for a monthly or annual subscription. By trying this option there is nothing much a user will lose as users will subscribe for the product only if they are happy with the product.
Though Engrade Pro has been a powerful teaching tool, teachers often find it difficult to update parents on students’ progress. On the contrary, ThinkWave Administrator is a good choice for teachers as it allows teachers to keep track of students’ grades and also update to parents’ on students’ progress. Besides, Engrade Pro posts sensitive data on the third-party server and hence it requires permission from the administrator every time a parent or a student has to view the grades.
This is a tiresome task and if the administrator is busy and is not available to provide permission, it becomes difficult to access student information. Nevertheless, in ThinkWave student information is available up-to-date and in real-time and even custom reports are provided to the users. ThinkWave has been streamlining its software since the time of its inception and has added several features like increased storage space, the feasibility to provide information to in digital format and with the more user-friendly interface.
There may be several software in the market, which may be similar to Engrade Pro. However, users can always consider the pros and cons of these platforms by reading reviews and then opt for one that is more appropriate for their schools. The ideal option is to go a free trial before going in for something full-scale and then think of a switchover. Migrating to other platform or software is often seem tiresome and time-consuming. But what is more needed is one that is easy to use and effective in terms of functionalities.
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