Registrars Office Grade Collection System

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Team ID: 
College / Administrative Unit: 
Enrollment Management and Administration
Date Started: 
June 2001
Over the past several years there has been a convergence of two technologies that have led to a reengineering effort of the University’s process of collecting and recording end-of-semester grades. First, the printing, distribution, completion, collection, and scanning of more than 13, 000 printed grade rosters from 24 campuses and 160 academic departments has yielded increasing levels of unreliability. This unreliability resulted in a crisis situation at the end of Spring Semester 2002.

Second, the emergence of the Web along with its many inherent advantages. Penn State is well positioned to deliver reliable, secure applications through the Web. In particular, this reengineering project has led to the further development of eLion Faculty applications.

The eLion Faculty Grade Entry application was first used Summer Session 2001. This initial usage was limited to an invited group of 18 faculty from several campuses and colleges, teaching both small and large sections. At the end of Fall Semester 2001, more than 100 faculty used this service. Based on feedback from the faculty, the system was modified to further improve functionality. During Spring Semester 2002, 433 instructors from 16 campuses graded 1,313 sections (8% of total grades) using this eLion service.

Starting with Fall Semester 2002, the use of scanning technology to record all undergraduate and graduate grades was eliminated. Grades were recorded using on-line technologies, with specific emphasis on fully utilizing the Web. Grade collection also continued to be available for faculty utilizing the grading services of University Testing Services.

The Penn State grade collection system for all undergraduate and graduate courses provides for three options:

1. eLion. Starting with Fall 2002, Faculty were encouraged to record their end-of-semester grades using the eLion Grade Entry application. To use this service, faculty had to be identified as the instructor of record for the course (his is the same identification necessary for a faculty member to obtain a class list through eLion or Angel); the faculty member needed an active Penn State Access Account (userID and password); and a SecurID token. There were no special hardware or software requirements when connecting to the Web. Faculty using eLion realized the following advantages:

a. Grades could be recorded immediately following the end date of the course. The instructor received an e-mail reminder when the course-grading period was open.

b. After entering grades, the instructor could return to enter additional grades, make revisions, or review previously entered grades.

c. Grades were immediately available to the student, eliminating the need for faculty to mail postcards or to post grades at their office, and e-mail and telephone inquiries from students regarding their grades.

d. No paper rosters were required and no documents needed to be returned to the Registrar's office. The grade audit trail was captured electronically.

e. Grades could be submitted during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to midnight from any computer connected to the Internet. (eLion was scheduled to be unavailable December 24 and 25).

f. Faculty received an e-mail confirmation of submitted grades.

g. After grade entry, faculty could view recorded grades and print a Grade Review Report for their files.

2. Grade Recording by Staff. Academic department staff at the University Park campus were empowered to record grades on behalf of the faculty using the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS). These staff joined the staff in the Registrar’s office and the campus registrars who have always been empowered to receive and record faculty grades into the ISIS system. All authorized staff were required to have a SecurID token to record grades on behalf of the faculty. As part of this implementation, new ISIS capabilities were developed including:
a. Screen ARICR - produce grade roster
b. Screen ARUCF - grade entry
c. Screen ARICQ - grading status. This provided real-time information about the number of grades expected and recorded, with information summarized by campus, college, department, course, or section.

3. University Testing Services. Faculty using the examination scoring services of University Testing Services (UTS) could continue to have their final grades computed and transmitted electronically to the Registrar's office.

At the conclusion of the grade collection cycle for Fall Semester 2002, 353,515 grades were received from faculty. The distribution of these grades by source of recording was:

Entry Source/Number of Grades/Percent of Total Grades
Staff Recording/28,966/8%
Total = 353,515 100%

Some specific observations about the receipt of grades for Fall 2002:

- 5,356 different course instructors used the eLion grade entry application

- During the holiday break (5:00pm. Friday, December 20 until 8:00am Thursday, January 2) nearly 100,000 grades were recorded.

- During the holiday break, eLion was available as scheduled to faculty for the entry of grades, and to students for the viewing of grades. (Both eLion and ISIS were planned to be off-line December 24 and 25)

- As of 5:00pm, Friday, January 3, 14,438 grades were outstanding. This compares to 49,189 missing grades to the comparable date for Fall 2001.

- The Registrar’s office received 47 course grade rosters (2,412 grades) from 20 faculty, 16 of which were from the same department.

- During the holiday break we had staff available to receive and respond to e-mail and telephone inquiries related to grade collection. All inquiries were responded to within 24 hours.

We are continuing to enhance the grade collection system based on comments and suggestions provided by the university community throughout the Fall 2002 grading period.

Contact Person: 
Cheri Gallagher
  • Jim Wager, Leader
  • Vicki Bordi, Member
  • Dawn Boyer, Member
  • Carol Findley, Member
  • Cheri Gallagher, Member
  • Andrea Harrington, Member
  • Anne Kepler, Member
  • Kathi Reynolds, Member
  • Melanie Schuster, Member
  • Dave Thompson, Member