Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gradebook Sprint at PloneConf

Last weekend the Arlington Career Center hosted the post-PloneConf Plone sprint. SchoolTool took the opportunity to piggy-back a little sprint on our gradebook.

We started by going through a specification document that the Arlington Public Schools created to guide their upcoming selection of a new gradebook. Jeff Elkner and David Welsh helped us prioritize these, sorting requirement-laden index cards into piles.

Based on that process, Douglas Cerna, visiting from El Salvador, and Alan Elkner worked on adding category weighting to the grade book, e.g., tests are 30% of the grade, homework 20%, etc. They completed the basic implementation, with just a few known edge cases remaining to be cleaned up. Filip Sufitchi added Javascript hooks to the gradebook view and implemented fill-down to enter the same grade in a given column, while still having enough time to attend the Thomas Jefferson High School homecoming dance.

Beyond coding, Jeff, David, Filip and did a phone interview with education reporter Suzie Boss, which will hopefully result in some well-deserved CanDo buzz. Jeff and I also met with the technology director of the Arlington Education and Employment Program to discuss uses for SchoolTool in adult ed programs. This is potentially a good case for us if we could figure out how to get the funders of these programs to see that putting open source administrative software in the hands of their grantees would make their program evaluation much more efficient. I also got to introduce Jeff to fellow travelers Brian Jepson (Make) and Joan Peckham (URI/NSF) over dinner Saturday. Overall, it was a very productive weekend.

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