When evaluating a gradebook solution for any school district, it's important to note the benefits for all stakeholders. To assist you in this task, here we've outlined just a few of the benefits your district will realize if you select the eSembler gradebook. We think you'll find that the benefits of choosing eSembler are clear.
eSembler for Education was the first entirely Web-based enterprise-class gradebook and attendance software. This innovative distinction is important because the maturity of our product allows your district to select a system that has already proven itself reliable in districts demanding the most in scalability and performance. Since our software is built on a wholly Web-based architecture, eSembler is centrally managed, allowing access across a network or Internet connection solely through a Web browser interface. The means that eSembler is hosted within a district’s data center, typically on only on two servers, an application server and a database server. By operating eSembler centrally, on fewer server systems, your district can dramatically reduce maintenance and hardware costs, while increasing reliability, efficiency, and flexibility. In addition to that benefit, software updates and upgrades are simultaneously made available to all teachers, administrators, parents, and students—dramatically reducing administrative management responsibilities and totally eliminating the need to download, install, push, or maintain specific gradebook software on each and every computer accessing the system.
eSembler’s Web-based architecture also offers your district the ability to allow teachers remote access to their gradebooks from any computer, anywhere in the world, at any time, as long as Internet access is available. If desired, your district may also allow parental access to their children’s records via the Internet. Teachers and parents access eSembler in the same manner, by securely logging into the software using a unique username and password. Once authenticated, they are allowed to view their own information; teachers are permitted to work with records associated with their assigned and shared classes, while parents or guardians are permitted to access the records of only their own children. The secure access permission structure for teachers is most often managed through the use of our industry-leading Active Directory or LDAP validation protocols. For network administrators, this means that eSembler is able to authenticate the teacher or parent and grant access and permissions transparently, based on one network identification.
eSembler also supports industry-standard 128-bit Secure Socket Layer encryption to ensure the security of account information and student data. All information within the gradebook can use the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol for transferring data. SSL is a cryptosystem that creates a secure environment for the information being transferred between each user’s browser and the eSembler gradebook. At a high level, SSL uses public key cryptography to secure transmissions over the Internet. This security model allows district’s to encrypt all data transferred between the user and the eSembler gradebook allowing for greater levels of security.
Cost savings, ease of access, and improvements to communication aside, one of the most significant benefits to selecting eSembler is found in its user interface. With clean, simple graphics that are universally hailed as being impeccably crafted and ingenious, eSembler receives continuous accolades for the intuitive, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing way it presents information to teachers, administrators, parents, and students. Compare our interface to other solutions and eSembler is clearly the leader in ease of use and user interface design. Since all aspects of the eSembler software are accessed through a browser, the basic controls found in the gradebook are already familiar to the vast majority of users. And unlike some gradebooks that require client side, fat client, or downloadable plug-ins, eSembler requires only a standard Web browser in order to function perfectly. Every function within eSembler is accessed through the same interface, regardless of the user’s location. That means that teachers only have to learn one system. Our superior interface and previously acquired user familiarity with Web browser functions dramatically improve user acceptance, speed of use, and reduces district training time, support, and related costs.
And unlike many gradebook vendors who promote an interface that mimics paper-based gradebooks, eSembler has leapt outside the boundaries and limitations inherent in that model. Taking advantage of the latest methodologies in usability engineering, Premio has made ground-breaking advances in software interface design. Using both normative and empirical data gathered from years of surveys and user-centered evaluations, eSembler engineers continuously improve the usability of our gradebook using a mature heuristic methodology responsive to the feedback of our end users. This approach has helped Premio develop a gradebook that has no peer.
Performance and scalability are also important considerations when selecting a gradebook and attendance solution. eSembler has been built from the ground up as a Web-based application, designed to run on centralized servers and accessed by thousands of users simultaneously. “Webinized” client-server applications simply don’t scale effectively to high numbers of simultaneous users because their architecture still relies greatly on a client application installed on each machine accessing the system. When traditional client server applications are made accessible via the Internet through a Web interface, it is usually with diminished performance results. eSembler, after many years in production environments, has now proven itself in the education marketplace. Even the most complex gradebook tools and reports load quickly, without consuming excessive bandwidth or processing power. To help ensure those performance standards consistently meet the high standards of our district clients, all installations are constantly monitored and remotely managed by eSembler engineers to ensure optimal operation.
Student accountability is enhanced when parent and student access is enabled within eSembler. Districts have the ability to allow parents or guardians to log into eSembler to view their own students' grades--as long as they have a Web browser and Internet access. Upon logging in, using their unique username and password, parents and guardians are presented with a list of their own students enrolled in the district. Only those children associated with the parent or guardian are displayed. When a student is selected, the parent is presented with a list of classes associated with the student. Clicking on a class name presents a report detailing student profile information, parent profile information, student averages, assignment scores, class averages, category information and averages, attendance information, and teacher comments.
eSembler for Education offers flexible connectivity and integration to a wide variety of customized and packaged Student Information Systems. Some of those systems include Pearson Digital Learning SASIxp, Pearson School Systems CIMS, SUNGARD Pentamation, Skyward SMS, Chancery SMS, CrossPointe TERMS, C Innovation Zangle, and Century Consultants Star Base. For database storage, eSembler uses Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the most popular enterprise-class database on the market today. Because of the open nature of SQL Server and eSembler's normalized data structures, a district can use applications like Crystal Reports® or Microsoft Access to tap into a wide range of real-time information stored within eSembler. This allows for unlimited variances in district-level reporting as well as opportunities to integrate customized or out-of-the-box applications with the gradebook. Finally, since eSembler was developed using Microsoft technologies including .NET and TSQL, proprietary development issues are never a concern for districts requiring data exchange with any number of heterogeneous applications; not just existing Student Information Systems, but also applications that your district will deploy in the future—applications that will most likely be Web-based—just like eSembler for Education.
We pride ourselves on customer service and technical support—support that is heralded as head and shoulders above what others consider “premier.” As John Alluisi, the Student Information Systems Manager of Norfolk Public Schools testifies: “I’ve been a school district technology manager for more than twenty-five years and can say that Premio’s technical support far exceeds that of every other vendor I’ve ever worked with!” And our goal is to provide that level of service to all of our clients.
While some vendors claim rapid call back or response time statistics, Premio prefers to cite rapid solution statistics. If a district has a question and contacts a member of their eSembler support group via phone or e-mail, they can expect an immediate response. Your district will never experience a hold queue since issues are escalated to all members of the support group. That means that any member of the eSembler team may respond to the requests of our district clients. In cases where your district requires assistance modifying system settings or if they wish to report the rare system problem, eSembler support team members are there to answer their call.
To gain an even greater understanding of how we support our district clients, our best recommendation is that you contact any client contact and ask them what they think about our service and support. We are certain that you will hear universal praise.
Premio never stops listening to what teachers have to say. At least twice a year we survey all of our client educators and make their responses available to district administrators across our entire customer community! We use these surveys as a means to prioritize new features so that our innovations are always in response to our customers’ needs. This unprecedented exposure to our end-user’s thoughts and comments has led to software enhancements that are unmatched in the industry. And these surveys have revealed something else—that the overwhelming majority of teachers agree that eSembler makes it easy to create assignments, store grades for assignments, and submit grades for student report cards. Premio understands that no single person or small group could possibly have the depth of knowledge shared by the collective group and for this reason the survey was born. In fact, eSembler was the first vendor to offer periodic teacher surveys for all of our district clients! This survey's ability to tap the collective wisdom of the teacher communal also provides districts keen insight into how the gradebook is being received by individual teachers and schools, often uncovering the need for additional training or proactive support calls.
Premio has established
a simple software pricing model. In addition to offering free updates every
few months, we don’t charge extra monies for system upgrades or optional
modules like attendance or parent access. Unlike other vendors, Premio is
considerate of limited district budgets. Therefore, every new feature added
to eSembler is always immediately available to all of our district clients—at
no additional charge.