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EXTENDED: Try SmartRubric Administrator for free

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We've recently added so many exciting features that work best with an administrator account, that we thought it was only right to offer you the opportunity to give them a try for free.

Administrator subscriptions are just like teacher subscriptions except you can:
1. Invite other teachers from your school to SmartRubric, and then collaborate on rubrics and assessments, as well as share classes and student data.

2. Take advantage of higher level reporting so you can manage student progress across departments and even subjects.

3. Use the moderation tool to standardise grades and produce detailed moderation and grade justification reports for coursework. SO! Until midnight Sunday, 17th of September if you upgrade to an Administrator Subscription using the offer code BACKTOSCHOOL, you get your first two accounts completely free for six months. That means you can share SmartRubric with a colleague at your school and make use of some cool collaboration tools for free. Normally, this wo…

How to: Customising a rubric for your specific class

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The whole point of SmartRubric is to make feedback more targeted and helpful for students, and to make your marking workload smaller and more manageable. If you aren't customising rubrics you might be making your life and the lives of your darling students much more difficult and confusing.

Don't worry, it's easy. I'll walk you through it. Here's a scenario for you:

You are a KS3 teacher. Your department has a big 'master rubric', which contains all of the strands that are assessed in your subject, and all of the possible levels a student could be at for years 7, 8 and 9. That means, maybe, 12 or thirteen levels and ten strands or so per core skill on multiple tabs. It's colossal, but really useful because it contextualises and maps out pretty much the entire curriculum. If you are sharing rubrics across a department, I highly recommend having one of these. Email me if you want help building one.

So, the beauty of having one of these is that you, as, sa…

Managing rubrics for a wide range of abilities

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Or, 'Help my rubric is enormous and my AFL sheets look terrible!'

With the addition of the ability to create multiple assessments across different classes, a new and exciting issue has cropped up. Since your 'multiple assessments' all need to use the same rubric, you'll probably end up needing one that covers a much broader range of abilities (this advice applies to single assessments for mixed-ability groups, too).

Sometimes, this means you end up with a rubric that has upwards of eight or nine bands! This causes some issues with formatting your AFL sheets, because SmartRubric tries to cram all of your bands onto a single sheet of paper for your student.

I'm working on a smarter, more comprehensive fix, but until that's ready, I've made you a special 'giant rubric' AFL template. From now on, if you try to download your whole class AFL sheets on one of these giant rubrics, you'll get a little alert showing up, like this:

You can throw cautio…

Difficult Student Relationships: The Paper Crane

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Building solid relationships with your students is, hands down, the most important part of teaching. Every single other aspect of teaching is much much easier if you have put some time into this.
But. Every now and then, you will end up with a student that doesn't respond to your respectful but firm boundaries. Sometimes the problem is them, sometimes it's you, and sometimes it's down to forces beyond either of your control. 
I had a student like this. Bilal (name changed, obviously) had a very difficult home life, and acted out in school. I tried the usual, followed the behaviour policy to the letter, and quickly learned that all that was happening is he was getting more and more frustrated with me, the school, the work and life in general. Our teacher/student relationship was extremely poor, and getting worse. The lessons I had with him were frequently disrupted. 
Then I stopped, and thought. The system wasn't working for this kid. Detentions were pointless, and the…

Get organised now!

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Hello teacher friends! I hope your summer holidays have been both restful and restorative.

Since it's the beginning of the year, now would be a great time to take advantage of the many organisational tools that SmartRubric offers to help you conquer your marking before it turns into a giant snowball/hamster wheel of doom. But first, some housekeeping:

For those of you who are setting up SmartRubric for the first time, please check out our series of helpful tutorials and videos to help you make the most of your new SmartRubric account:

How to set up your account and start marking in less than 10 minutes (<-- start with this one)How to set up your account - more detail and resourcesHow to set up a classHow to create a smart rubricHow to feed back to students Once you have your account set up, you might be interested in some of the more advanced features of SmartRubric. You can find a list of relevant tutorials here
If you are an old hat at SmartRubric and have set up classes befo…

New Feature: Tracker

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So, a few weeks ago I hinted in this post at some brand new features that come out of the ability to set up assessments for multiple classes at once. Well, here's one for you!

This feature is available to teachers and administrators who belong to a department or school SmartRubric account (Sorry, solo teachers! You can upgrade for as little as 10 GBP/month).

The Departmental Spreadsheetwill be a familiar beast to most of you, and, to be completely honest, it isn't something that SmartRubric has been able to replace...until now.

Now that you can create linked assessments for a bunch of classes at once (this post tells you how), you are probably going to want to look at a nice, friendly, top level overview of how all of the students are doing on these linked assessments. You probably want something that looks like this:
Just imaginethe efficiency. You, as department administrator, can set up all of your formal assessments for the whole year (if you want!), make a tracker like the…

How to roll up your cohorts up in SmartRubric

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If you are a department administrator or a single teacher (you don't share your SmartRubric account without other teachers at your school), you're probably going to want to roll up your cohorts for the start of the 2017/18 school year. That way, your dear little year 7s will become cheeky year 8s, your 8s will become sulky 9s and so on. Graduating students get sorted into an alumni group, and a new incoming class is created.*
*Before you do this, make sure the list of year groups accurately reflects your school's intake. So, if you are a secondary school, you should have a Year 7 group even if you don't have any students in it. Otherwise it'll snarl up the magic. 

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have already noticed that there is (for a limited time only) a great big button to help you do this. The button appears in the summer, and lasts for three months into the school year. If you miss the window, don't panic. Just drop an email to support@smartrubric.com