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NewBoCo’s QuickScore simplifies grading for K-12 teachers

Despite the digital classroom revolution, many teachers still keep track of students’ grades by pencil and paper. The Cedar Rapids collaborative NewBoCo, which operates the Iowa Startup Accelerator, is looking to improve the process for schools with a new plugin, QuickScore. Six teams were chosen for the Iowa Startup Accelerator this year, but QuickScore wasn’t one of them. QuickScore…

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Despite the digital classroom revolution, many teachers still keep track of students’ grades by pencil and paper.

The Cedar Rapids collaborative NewBoCo, which operates the Iowa Startup Accelerator, is looking to improve the process for schools with a new plugin, QuickScore.

Six teams were chosen for the Iowa Startup Accelerator this year, but QuickScore wasn’t one of them. QuickScore is the 2016 Corporate Innovation Team for the accelerator, but the project is a different beast than the regular class.

“It’s a weird situation,” said team member Jay Cooper. “It’s not officially a full-time project; we’re the plus one. We’re utilizing the resources of the accelerator, but we’re not following the exact same schedule as the other teams. We’re able to start and stop the project as we need to and not do a lot of the weekly grind that the people starting from scratch do.”

How QuickScore works

An Iowa school district approached NewBoCo about designing QuickScore as a way of improving the grading process. Teachers were grading tests, entering the info into an Excel spreadsheet and sending that off to the administration.

With QuickScore, info is contained in the program’s management system, allowing teachers to quickly mark test answers correct or incorrect and send that on to the administration.

Teachers log in to the school’s management system and select the courses they’re teaching, each of which has a link to QuickScore. They do their grading, and everything is saved digitally.

“It takes away a few of the steps that were weighing teachers down,” Cooper said.

Learning as they go

The school district approached NewBoCo with its needs, with the team planning to present their product at the end of the accelerator. The timing of the accelerator means QuickScore couldn’t be ready for the fall semester.

“Everything was ramping up in August, so it was probably the last time teachers wanted to sit down and talk while they were getting their classrooms ready,” Cooper said. “It’s been a bit of a challenge getting on people’s calendars. If the accelerator hadn’t started in August, we probably wouldn’t have either, but the info we’ve been getting has been helpful so far.”

Continuing education

For now, NewBoCo is catering QuickScore to the needs of one school district, but Cooper expects that as work continues, the tool will be useful to schools nationwide.

“We have found other districts are having the same problems as our beta district was having before they contacted us,” Cooper said. “We’re finding that, yes, there probably is a market for this.”

Cooper hopes that QuickScore will be useful for K-12 schools, as well as colleges in the long run. But NewBoCo is starting small and hopes to use the results of the beta district to expand QuickScore down the line.

“As we go along, if we’re finding more districts have the same kind of trouble as our beta, the work we’re doing now could be really helpful for other schools in two or three years,” Cooper said. “We’re still early in the process, but hopefully we can contract something like this for other districts. For now, it’s all about building the infrastructure and seeing where things stand when we have more data.”

Joe Lawler is a freelance reporter based in Des Moines.

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