Paul Brown

Failure to Learn

Easy Grade - an EZ Grader for Your iPhone


There I was, one evening, helping my wife grade papers. I only do the multiple choice questions and the strict short-answer ones. I needed to calculate grades to put on the top of the papers, and I needed a way to quickly calculate this number. Being the geek that I am, I made a quick Numbers spreadsheet (which is a simple, useful skill for anyone to learn, whether it be Numbers of Excel). I quickly ran into many papers on which my wife had given half credit for some questions, and since I had generated the spreadsheet for integral numbers, I had to keep adjusting it, which was the point where the app developer in me said “There’s gotta be an app for this”.

Well, there is an app for this. In fact, there are many. But I noticed one particular feature missing from all of them: the ability to calculate grades where half-credit was given. Thus the idea for my app, Easy Grade, was born. Those cardboard EZ Graders also don’t do half-points, are $7-$8, and you don’t always have those with you, but you do always have your phone with you.

While on the bus one day, I sketched out what I thought I wanted, and I came up with this: Sketches_blog

I had recently done an app for the App Store, and this new app seemed like a simple enough idea, so I set about making it. My goal was to make it super simple to configure, with only one screen, and to make it sleek and attractive, setting it apart from pretty much all of the existing competition. I think I accomplished this. With a good bit of help from my wife about placement, size, and colors, and with the help of the nicely-designed glyphs from Glyphish, we came up with what you now see in the App Store. Here are some screenshots:

Screen Shot 2012-04-10 at 1.27.29 PM Screen Shot 2012-04-10 at 1.27.16 PM

In addition to the delight of designing and developing my own app, I had the opportunity to commission the app’s icon design to the fine folks at Artifact. It took a 15-minute conversation with the art director to describe my idea. A couple of emails and a couple of weeks later I had the icon you see at the top of this post.

I’m very happy with the outcome, and my hope is that the app is helping teachers around the country (and world) calculate their grades. I’ve got a few ideas for improvement, and I plan on developing an iPad-specific version. If you do grab it on the App Store, please leave a review to let me know what you think.