Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Venting the Anger: DataDirector

So it's finals time and it's been a little different over here this year because of the furlough days being reinstated and the schedule being different...I'll get around to it I promise.

For the first 5 years of teaching I used a program called Edusoft. It was a nice program that let you upload the tests to a website and all you had to do was scan them into the computer and it would grade them for you percents and all. Sounds like a scantron test right? Well, it did so much more. You could break it down by standards, most missed question, advanced through far below did a lot of nice things. Here were some other pros:
  • Only one teacher needed to be logged into the scanner to scan tests. In other words, it Teacher A was logged in Teacher B could come along and just put his tests in too to be scanned.
  • You didn't need to separate the tests. That meant every test I gave could be scanned together. All my Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 tests could be scanned at once with all of the multiple forms. And Edusoft did the rest.
  • You could make copies from one sheet. Print out the answer document from the website and the students just had to bubble in their name and it was good to go.
  • You could take any multiple choice test you had and upload the answers to the site and then print out an answer sheet for it.

I was so into Edusoft. I had tests all over the place. I uploaded tests I was like a freakin' cheerleader for Edusoft. I was telling all the other departments how great this thing was and how much time it saved me. And then came the dark times...two years ago Edusoft was bought out by DataDirector...well that's what we were told because Edusoft's site is still up and running. We were told that it would be so much better for us. It would have more data for us to analyze than Edusoft. It would be faster and it would have more questions for us to use. Of course it didn't do anything else like;
  • you could only scan tests now if you were logged into the scanner. No more Teacher B scanning with Teacher A.
  • Even Teacher A gets screwed. You now had to select each test you were scanning. So now you had to separate all the different versions, scan one. Select another test and scan again...and so on.
  • You had to print out an individual answer sheet for each student. To top it off, where ever the answer sheet was printed, you had to scan your answers with that scanner.

There's so much more wrong with this damn program. And I haven't used it for over a year because the first time I tried to use it, it took me 3 hours to grade 34 benchmarks (45 questions each). I jumped off of that thing and ran as fast as I could. We have WASC coming and they want data to back up everything we say. Well I haven't used it for over a year so I had to do the old tally marks for my data.

It's like I said with Aeries Grade Book. Technology should make our lives easier and improve over time. This is such a huge step backwards that I don't even use it.

I bring this up because I ran out of scantrons so instead of using DataDirector I created some generic bubble answer sheets and cut out the answers to make an overlay. It took me over an hour to do that for all of my finals, but I refuse to use something that takes us backwards.


Mrs. H said...

My school uses something called "Eduphohria" that sounds just like your edusoft. It is absolutely amazing. Yesterday, me and three other teachers ran all our final exam scantrons at the same time while being logged in to one teacher's account. I did not sort my scantrons by subject. Just ran all of them together. It immediately uploaded all my results to the program and my grades for the semester are done! I am now in the process of using the different reports to see where the kids did not do so well. I will incorporate those type problems back into future tests or maybe use them as warm-ups. It also gives me my stats and breaks it down by eco/dis and ethnicity/special ed etc.

Mr. W said...

yeah sounds like Edusoft. It was nice too because the papers didn't even have to face the same way, just face up.

I won't use it until we are forced to. I did the same thing with Aeries Grade Book. I am sure it is a matter of time though.

Well if you hear they are making a switch to DataDirector, start complaining. :-)