Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2017


Free online gradebook offers many features but more dead ends

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Useful reporting, lesson-planning, and communication features to manage content and track student progress.

Cons: This tool is currently unsupported, and links to features that no longer work can be a disappointment.

Bottom Line: An attractive, user-friendly online gradebook, but privacy concerns and broken links within the tool make long-term use risky.

Teachers can use LearnBoost to enhance productivity and lesson planning in the classroom. Assign students tests, quizzes, homework, and projects, and input grades for instant letter or numeric calculation. Managing content, attendance, and student progress is simple and works via any web browser. Assignment creation takes under a minute, and adding standards (Common Core State Standards) is a snap through a keyword search. Want to improve school-to-home communication or promote student accountability? Use the comment feature to write a private note for your records or to share feedback with students and parents, or send individual or group emails to get messages out quickly. Perhaps the most useful feature is the ability to create a portfolio of customized lesson plans online and share your work with others via a unique URL.

While the LearnBoost website is currently being maintained, the developers have moved on to a different project and are no longer adding new features. This can make for a frustrating user experience. Since it seems unlikely that it will get any further attention, LearnBoost may not be a good long-term option for teachers looking to manage their classes and content online.

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LearnBoost is a free online gradebook and lesson-planning tool for teachers. Upon signing up, teachers are guided through creating classes, adding classroom policies, setting grading preferences, and adding students, either manually or via CSV files. Teachers can invite students and parents to join with a login code, and members must provide an email address, a username, and a password. Inside the tool, teachers can create assignments, choose standards, take attendance, enter grades, provide general feedback, and view student progress within chosen date ranges. The lesson-planning feature allows teachers to add lesson objectives, standards, materials, files, links, and more, all of which can be easily shared.

Unfortunately, many features that appear on the main site, such as Google apps and calendar integration, help links, and the blog, are no longer supported. Since it's unclear which features work, teachers may get frustrated clicking on links that are visible but don't load. Also, a broken privacy policy link raises some concerns about the safety of student data.

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For teachers desiring to go digital with their grades or lesson plans, LearnBoost provides a simple way to track and share assignments as well as a solid lesson-planning tool. As a learning tool, however, LearnBoost doesn't have much to offer students; teachers can share grades, provide general feedback, and email students and parents from within the platform, but students can only view assignments, grades, attendance, and teacher feedback. There's no option to submit work, create, interact, or even communicate with the teacher within the tool. While the ability to track progress promotes student accountability, students will not benefit from this information if it doesn't come with actionable features that encourage student growth. Gradebook tools that don't support learning often lead students, their parents, and even teachers to obsess over a letter or number grade instead of things that matter most: student learning, well-being, and growth.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The ability to track grades and receive class messages is useful for students and parents, but the student interface is basic and doesn't provide many features for engagement.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Teaching students accountability by giving them access to their grades and feedback is important, but the gradebook features are geared more toward teacher productivity than student learning. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Screen hints provide useful help getting started, and the design promotes intuitive use, but the many dead ends and lack of support make for a frustrating user experience.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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