Last fall, I wrote about using Numbers on my iPad to create a rubric for grading lab reports. This semester, I wanted to use the same rubric with some minor modifications to score the same kind of report. Not much has changed in Numbers since then, but I wanted to jot down what I did so I remember for next time.
The first step was to duplicate the spreadsheet on the iPad, so that I wasn’t overwriting last year’s grades. I actually like to keep these around for when students ask me for recommendation letters, as they provide a record of details about a student’s work habits that I’ve long since forgotten. I think it can help a letter immensely to be able to say, “I knew this student when she was a freshman, and she was already a shining star on her first scientific report.”
After making a new copy of the spreadsheet, I deleted all rows except the first and copy/pasted this year’s roster into it. I slightly altered the requirements for the report, so I (luckily) remembered to modify the items and point values to reflect my expectations. After that, I was off to the grading races, this time using a form to do data entry rather than entering values directly on the table. I’ve commented on this view before, but this turns Numbers into a little bit of a database-flavored tool, giving just a bit more focus on an individual student’s ‘record’ than a spreadsheet allows.
The major change this year is that Numbers on both iOS and the Mac are both connected to iCloud, making it completely seamless to access the grade sheet back on my Mac. Like last time, I set up a ‘mail merge’ (outdated name) to generate a one-page report for each student, which required that I save a copy of the spreadsheet to my Mac from iCloud. I guess the mail merge feature isn’t iCloud-aware just yet. This year, rather than creating a separate PDF for each student, I just copy/pasted the output in Pages into the body of an email, which was cleaner than last year’s PDF attachment.