Chris Besse, President and COOEvery child is capable of doing wonderful things,” begins Chris Besse, President and COO of FreshGrade. Having been in the field of education for 25 years, Besse is inexorably driven to impact student learning in a positive way, and helping every child reach his or her potential. FreshGrade is taking strategic steps to bring technological tools to the forefront of education. Essentially, what FreshGrade is trying to solve is the core issue of how to make learning visible. By capturing learning as it happens, through videos, audio clips, anecdotal notes or pictures, FreshGrade brings an evidence based approach which allows teachers, students, and parents to view and share student documentation seamlessly. Designed in a digital portfolio, the FreshGrade platform personalizes the learning experience to better comprehend student’s real learning challenges, and help the educator and parents get a deeper understanding of student performance. “Documenting learning in a secure private environment allows for authentic assessment opportunities, while overcoming the impediment faced in measuring critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration,” adds Besse.
On a similar note, FreshGrade has capitalized on mobile technology and employs a mobile first approach in their development strategy, thereby ensuring their platform services are optimized for mobile. “We adopted portable technology because it ensures learning is not confined to the classroom alone. Learning happens constantly, 24/7, and mobile devices allow that learning to be captured conveniently and in real time,” states Besse.
Additionally, FreshGrade’s digital portfolio also features Grade Book functionality which enables the teacher to create an assessment activity correlated to State/Provincial learning outcomes captured and tagged within the digital grade book. So when a teacher creates an activity, it automatically gets captured in the student portfolio, which the teacher can later access to make factual assessments on a student’s progress.
“In addition to traditional assessment measures, this feature also helps teachers adopt richer ways of expressing learning, such as anecdotal notes, mastery scale, and rubrics.
Documenting learning in a secure private environment allows for authentic assessment opportunities, while overcoming the impediment faced in measuring critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration
We see our tool actually replacing traditional report cards to give a more comprehensive understanding of student performance,” explains Besse. To cite an example, a school district had a broken and archaic report card system. While looking for a better way to share and communicate meaningful and authentic student performance, they approached FreshGrade. “We created a new way to share student learning,” remarks Besse. Post the implementation of FreshGrade’s digital portfolio, the client got rid of their report cards and gained a consolidated grading and reporting system.
With thousands of district owned devices requiring IT staff support and effective device management, “our development strategy is very diligent. Most schools provide minimal service either minimal bandwidth or intermediate WiFi which causes problems for apps. So, we are working on sophisticated cache solutions such as local network cached services. This will enable districts to upload the work from local devices as quickly as their network allows and provide network administrators quality of service control.”
With its deep acumen and industry experience, FreshGrade has etched itself in a distinct stature by focusing on user interface and user experience. Many schools have experienced tremendous performance gains by seeking assistance from FreshGrade. Moving forward, the company is focused on growing its services across the U.S. and positively impacting student learning.