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Website review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2014


Use standards-based learning goals to help measure kids' success

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Pros: A solid entry point for those new to standards-based grading; there are also robust tools for power users.

Cons: The inclusion of built-in Common Core alignment would make the platform even stronger.

Bottom Line: This powerful, user-friendly tool for standards-based grading excels at customization.

One of the most powerful ways to use ActiveGrade is to share data directly with students. When students reflect frequently and deeply on their own learning, it's easier for them to make crucial connections between their learning strategies, habits of mind, and progress toward mastering new skills. 

ActiveGrade provides extensive reporting tools that students can use to set goals and advocate for their own needs. Teachers can use this data to target instruction to help students where they need it the most. The frequent use of formative assessments can help both students and teachers track progress and set reachable goals. The more data you've got, the more meaningful it will be to students.

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Editor's Note: ActiveGrade was sunset by PowerSchool in 2016. 

ActiveGrade is a compelling tool for online grading; it has a low entry point but meets the needs of those more experienced with standards-based grading. New users get a walkthrough as they set up their first standards-based gradebook. This user-friendly setup involves configuring a number of options and data, from standards, classes, and grading periods to overall grading policies, rubrics, and student lists. 

The website is organized around three main views: Class, Administration, and Student. In the Class view, teachers get a real-time, color-coded look at student progress from various reports. Setting up new assignments and grading are both a quick process. Teachers can leave comments while grading, as well as upload evidence of students' work. The Administration view is used to help organize data into collections and set access permissions. Students and parents can use the Student view to check on progress toward standards mastery with a high level of detail.

ActiveGrade is an excellent tool for teaching and learning in a mastery-based classroom. From the website, teachers can quickly set up the platform to start collecting and analyzing their students' data. Through a variety of reports, students, parents, and teachers can see standards mastery with a level of clarity not otherwise possible without a program of this type. This transparency can help teachers provide targeted instruction and help all the stakeholders set goals and monitor progress.

From start to finish, the program provides a wide range of customization. There's also great support to help explain all of the options, many of which you can tweak at any time. On top of this, the ability to bulk fill grades can be a great time saver. Unfortunately, ActiveGrade doesn't provide built-in lists of the Common Core standards -- these must be entered by hand. In 2013, ActiveGrade was purchased by Haiku Learning; for those already using the Haiku LMS (Learning Management System), there's now seamless integration between the two platforms.

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It's quick and easy to analyze student data using standards-based methods. The reports are a breeze to generate, and the dashboard provides clear and useful information about students.


Mastery-based reports can give students, families, and teachers a clear view of progress and the best next steps to take. A variety of report templates are a click away, or you can create custom reports yourself.


The platform is a breeze to set up and customize. New users get a walkthrough when setting up classes, assignments, and standards. The online help is comprehensive and user-friendly -- many pages include tours.

Common Sense reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

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