Doctopus and Goobric: The Ultimate Digital Assessment Tools
January 30, 2017
These game-changing digital tools will help you develop a more efficient formative assessment system and cut your overall grading time in half.
As I’m sure many fellow teachers would agree, developing an effective system of providing meaningful, individualized feedback to each of our students during the writing process can be a challenge.
With student counts for secondary teachers ranging anywhere from 100-150+, it can sometimes feel like our pre-unit grand conferring plans are on the losing end of a never ending battle with class time and circumstance.
And let’s be real for a moment about how we end up spending our precious time post-unit: agonizing for hours upon hours over final essay stacks, noting errors and making comments that are often too late to make an impact or that may never even see the light of day. The cycle can be disheartening.
Google Classroom, along with the Doctopus add-on for Google sheets and the Goobric Chrome extension, has changed all that.
Google Classroom is part of G Suite for Education and has served as the organizational hub of my classroom for the past two years. No more lugging around giant stacks of paper or keeping track of who’s turned in what and when. Google Classroom takes care of all that — and so much more.
While Google Classroom is an incredible time saver all by itself, and being able to easily access and comment directly on a student’s Doc has already opened up an array of formative feedback opportunities, I couldn’t help but feel like something was off. Since the work was being submitted digitally, it made sense that it should be graded digitally too. Alternating between typing comments on Docs and circling rubric boxes with my trusty lavender Flair pen felt inconvenient and clunky. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Flair pens, but I love tech-related efficiency more.
After some researching and experimenting, I finally stumbled across the solution: Doctopus and Goobric.
HOW IT WORKS
Doctopus is a Google Sheets add-on that “ingests” assignment information from Google Classroom, while the Goobric Chrome extension attaches a digital rubric so teachers can grade and comment on student work within a single browser tab.
Basically, the attached rubric appears at the top of the student’s assignment in Docs, and with a few easy clicks, your individual comments and the rubric data are time stamped and appended to the bottom of the Doc for each student to view. This information is also sent to a Google Sheet for your easy reference and analysis from anywhere at any time.
After realizing the magnitude of this time-saving potential, there was only one recurring thought in my mind:
This is a game changer.
So imagine my delight, a few months later as I’m standing in front of a group of fellow teachers in my district, raving about my recent digital discoveries, when a 5th grade teacher I’ve never met in the front row suddenly exclaims, “Wow, this is game changing.”
Yes, my thoughts exactly!
Indeed, the ability to attach a digital rubric to student writing in Google Classroom gives teachers a quick and easy way to provide feedback to students throughout all stages of the writing process.
QUICK & EASY FORMATIVE FEEDBACK
While I initially began using Doctopus and Goobric as summative assessment tools, the potential for formative assessments became evident quickly.
Teachers can fill out the attached rubric more than once, and each time the information is appended to the student’s Doc for him or her to view. The data is also sent to a Google Sheet, which makes it super easy to keep track of your comments and where you left off; know instantly who you need to follow up with, and who’s work you have yet to access.
Another option, if the final rubric is too cumbersome to fill out more than once, is attaching a revision checklist or simplified rubric during the writing process and swapping it out with the final grading rubric once the assignments are submitted.
Either way, students receive essential teacher feedback in real time, and teachers can celebrate the fact that they’ve met their conferring goals while saving time and sanity in the process.
EFFICIENT RUBRIC-BASED GRADING
Using Doctopus and Goobric has significantly reduced my time spent grading for three main reasons:
1. As a result of having a more efficient formative feedback system, I’m more familiar with my student’s writing throughout the process. This means I don’t have to spend time acquainting myself with unfamiliar writing; I know the issues I’m looking for and can target my response from there.
2. Being able to click rubric boxes in the same browser tab as the opened assignment is equal parts time-saving and magical. It’s just so darn efficient.
3. No need to add up all those points from the rubric boxes afterwards to determine final scores — simply return to the original Google Sheet where all that information and more is waiting for you in beautiful little cells. This makes inputting those final grades into your district’s grading management system a much smoother process.
Ready to get started? First, you’ll need:
- A posted assignment in Google Classroom with student work. The work does not have to be submitted yet, but there does need to be student work attached or it won’t recognize the assignment.
- The Goobric Chrome Extension. You only have to download this once.
- The Doctopus Add-On for Google Sheets. Click “Add-ons” → “Get add-ons” on the file menu. Again, you only have to do this once.
- A compatible Google Sheets rubric. See example below:
For a step-by-step guide (with animated GIFs!) on how to get Doctopus and Goobric up and running in your classroom, visit the following link: Doctopus and Goobric Tutorial.
Please note that the above tutorial assumes a familiarity with Google Classroom; however, I am working on incorporating Google Classroom instructions into the tutorial and it will be updated as that occurs. For more information on Google Classroom, please visit Google For Education.
I also have a video in the works, so I’ll make sure to update this post once that happens.
Have questions? Feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to help you become a paperless ninja.