Google gradebook sync has arrived

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Way back in 2014, when Google first released the Google Classroom API, I was lucky enough to be featured on their ISTE stage as a launch partner — showcasing a manual Google Apps Script solution I had written for syncing Google Classroom rosters with SIS extracts.   Since joining Amplified IT, I’ve had the honor to lead a team of talented developers at Amplified Labs through an ongoing partnership with Google to build robust, district-scale solutions to the ever-important opportunity of SIS sync for Google Classroom.

Our Little SIS Sync Agent — which provisions and syncs Classroom classes, rosters, and guardians — is now entering its 3rd year of service in over 400 G Suite districts and our new Little SIS for Classroom web app released in beta this spring, saving hundreds of thousands of hours of valuable teacher time and ensuring all students have access to the Classroom resources they need, and administrators can support rich, meaningful instruction.

Today, as a former classroom teacher and IT director, I’m excited to finally be able to talk publicly about Google’s latest workflow-enhancing, time-saving release: the ability for teachers to sync Classroom assignments and grades to student information systems that support the OneRoster API.

So…what exactly is Google releasing?

With this initial release, Google will support syncing of assignments and grades between Google Classroom and the Infinite Campus Student Information System (SIS). Expansion to include other major SIS providers that support the OneRoster API is anticipated soon. If you are an Infinite Campus or CapitaSIMS district, you can sign up for the early access beta program here.

Teachers will be able to sync their assignments and grades from Google Classroom back to the internal SIS gradebook.  This new integration removes dual grade entry — grades and assignments can be pushed with a few clicks directly to the student information system.

For administrators, this new integration means fewer tools teachers need to learn about and less room for error in grade entry.

It’s important to note that Google is not supporting roster syncing (creation or updating of Google Classrooms from the SIS) or guardian email syncing at this time.

Features in grade sync

With the grade sync release…

Administrators can:

  • Establish a connection between your SIS and Google Classroom for their domain.  Note that currently this applies to Infinite Campus and CapitaSIMS, and for schools accepted to the closed beta.   Additional SIS providers that support the OneRoster API will likely be added later.

  • Configure sync settings that apply to Google Classroom teachers in their domain.  We don’t yet have any details on what configuration options are possible.

If enabled by the administrator, Teachers can:

  • Manually link existing Google Classroom classes to your SIS

  • Push assignments and grades from Google Classroom to the SIS

  • Unlink any linked class

Schedule time to learn more on how to utilize Google gradebook sync for your school district.

Grade sync SIS data requirements

Syncing of grades for existing Classroom users to users in the SIS will rely on the email address field for users, so a valid G Suite email address must be maintained within the SIS for each student.

Features that are NOT available

Google will not be launching the ability to:

  • Provision Google user accounts based on data from the information system.  (Note: This functionality can be found within Amplified IT GfE Sync and Managed Sync services.)

  • Pull assignments and grades from the information system into Classroom.

  • Push changes in rosters from Classroom to the information system.

  • Pull changes in rosters from the information system to Google Classroom.  (Note: This functionality can be found within Amplified Labs’ Little SIS Sync Agent as well as our Managed Sync service)

What does each Amplified Labs / Amplified IT provisioning offering do in comparison to Google’s OneRoster support?

As you can see, Amplified IT’s various provisioning solutions offer functionality that is complementary and supportive of Google’s OneRoster grade sync.

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What does this mean for schools using Little SIS Sync Agent or our Managed Sync service?

Remember that this Google release…

  • focuses only on the syncing assignments and grades

  • only applies to districts that use Infinite Campus as their student information system (for now)

This means…

If you are not an Infinite Campus district, you’ll want to inquire into whether your SIS provider plans to support the OneRoster API and Google’s grade sync integration.

If you are an Infinite Campus district using the Little SIS Sync Agent or our Managed Sync service, and you can get into the closed beta for this Fall, this release will very likely multiply the impact of your investment in the provisioning and syncing of rosters.  

Why? Because teachers with auto-synced rosters gain even more benefits from being able to push their assignments and grades automatically back to the SIS without having to handle roster maintenance and mismatches.  

The (brand new) Little SIS for Classroom web app strongly complements the grade sync experience

With the arrival of grade sync, teachers will discover increasing time-savings and value in adopting Google Classroom as the primary online “space” in which they assign and manage work with students.  The Little SIS web app empowers your building-level admins to more fully support their teaching staff in this journey.

The Little SIS for Classroom web app gives IT administrators live,  academic year and school-by-school disaggregated insights into Classroom usage across your domain as well as the ability to perform convenient bulk management tasks on classes.  

Example insights into active class count by roster size, broken down by school year and school.

Example bulk action in Little SIS for Classroom web app

In addition, the Little SIS web app creates new administrative superpowers and insights in Google Classroom for principals, technology coaches, SPED coordinators, and IT support staff.   Using fine-grained custom roles, and by “tagging” Classes by school and academic year, super administrators can delegate useful powers such as the ability to view adoption metrics by teacher, to join and explore a class as a student, or to assign a co-teacher or change the primary teacher of a class when a staff member is absent or on leave.

 Example of user limited to access only classes from “Medford Elementary” joining the class as a student

What we recommend:

To get the most out of Google’s grade sync offering this Fall

  1. If you are an Infinite Campus or CapitaSIMS district, you can sign up for the early access beta program here. If not, contact your SIS provider and ask them when they plan to support the OneRoster API and Google Classroom grade sync integration.

  2. Use the Little SIS for Classroom web app to explore usage across your district to gain a baseline measure of adoption, assess your teacher training and support needs, and take management actions on Google Classroom such as bulk-archiving all classes from last year.

  3. Use the Little SIS Sync Agent or our Managed Sync for G Suite to provision classes in Google Classroom.  This will help ensure:

    1. The classes adhere to naming conventions to make it easier for your students and staff and for future reporting

    2. Rosters are kept in sync as the school year starts

    3. If you have no automated user-provisioning solution, Managed Sync will also auto-create G Suite accounts for students

    4. Guardian email addresses can be auto-maintained to allow Classroom notifications to be a part of the school-home student support relationship

Schedule time to learn more on how to utilize Google gradebook sync for your school district.

  • Andrew Stillman photo

    Andrew Stillman
    Chief Product Officer

  • About the Author:

    Andrew lives in NYC and is best known for founding the CloudLab at the non-profit New Visions for Public Schools, where he led the technical development of Google-Apps-based data tools that were adopted in over 200 schools through NYC Department of Education school-reform initiatives.  Andrew taught a range of STEM subjects for ten years in the public school classrooms of NYC, and was co-founder and assistant principal of NYC’s Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering.  Andrew is a Google Certified Innovator and a Google Developer Expert.  When Andrew isn’t coding and designing products, he can be found experimenting in the kitchen, riding his bike, and working on maker projects with his kids.