New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
This evidence based practice paper describes a means to grade Excel Workbooks using ActiveX Com controls in Matlab®. The automated Excel grader frees the instructor or teaching assistant for instructional efforts with a greater impact on student outcomes. The Benchmark Series Excel 2013 text is used. The text provides a starting workbook, and step by step instruction for the student to modify the workbook using the features of Microsoft Excel. This text works well with application oriented students. A single chapter of the Benchmark text requires 2.5 minutes just too manually open and close all of the files for one student. Grading 70 students, allowing 15 minutes per student would require 17.5 hours. The Matlab® grader can perform detailed grading of the same files with just a few minutes of set up time. The automated grader compares each cell of the student’s workbook submission with the master workbook to compute the number of correct answers. The number of possible correct answers is determined by comparing the master workbook with the starting workbook. This process is repeated for multiple sheets in multiple workbooks to compute the student’s grade. In addition printouts in PDF format can be checked for inclusion in the grade. The student receives an email with his or her grade and a detailed list of errors with the cell location of the error. Without automated grading the bulk of the assessment would be based on periodic exams that may allow a student to get so far behind that he or she cannot recover. With automated grading the student receives immediate and detailed feedback on each chapter. This paper addresses numerous issues with the development of the grader, the impact on student outcomes, and additional work to be done.
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