Forum App Reviewer
Head to Head Review: GPA+
For those of you that don't know, the weekend (or close) Head to Head Review is a review by the two Forum App Reviewers - Chris (cjvitek) and myself. In which we go head-to-head on one app, hopefully this will give you a better idea on what to expect from the application.
Teacher's Review (cjvitek):
Okay, it has been 4 years since I was a graduate student, and 15 years since I was an undergrad, so I am not approaching this review from the perspective of a current student. Just an FYI.
GPA+ is a GPA calculation tool - designed to calculate the effect your current classes will have on your overall GPA, as well as how well you need to get in order to maintain/reach a certain GPA.
The program has a nice interface, but I would like to have seem a guided tutorial to start - especially since there are some things you may[/i] need to set up initially. When you start, you need to put in your current GPA and the number of credits that you have already taken. This is done so that the effect of your current classes can be calculated.
You can then start to add classes for your current class load. The interface is very smooth and intuitive - "+" to add a class, at which point you type the name, number of credits, grading type (grade or scores), etc. It is nice to see that you can have 1/2 credits for courses (2.5 credits, 3.5, etc) but you can't have just 1/2 credit, the lowest value is 1.
Once you have a course entered, you then enter grades, either as a letter grade (A, B, C, etc) or a numerical value (points or percentage). You have the option of entering a single grade or multiple scores if you have multiple grades (tests, quizzes, homework, etc). If the individual grades are not worth an equal amount, you can adjust the relative "weight" of each grade. So if quizzes are worth 10%, and the two tests are worth 30%, you can put that in. It is nice to see that feature.
Entering grades or points is done by using a slider or a button, choosing the appropriate number of points or the grade (respectively). You can also enter extra credit (either in terms of points or an additional percentage).
I tried entering some grades as weighted points, with two grades each receiving a wieght of "100" (presumably 100%) and there was no red flag. I suppose in the end each grade was worth 50% of the total grade, but it would be nice to have some warning that my "weights" don't add up to be 100%.
There are some nice tools to calculate what GPA you need to get in order to raise your GPA a certain amount (or maintain it), but there is no summary table available. It would be nice to have semesters listed, so you could see you GPA by semester, you current semester GPA, your overall GPA, track any trends (graphs!!), GPA by subject area, etc. Along the same lines, there is no way to mark a class as completed - all classes remain on the active screen regardless if you are currently taking them, or finished them two semesters ago.
You can't adjust the grade scale or GPA scale. It may not be very important, but grading and GPA scales are not universal. I suppose in terms of GPA that doesn't matter too much, so it is at best a minor point.
I also missed not having a "point" system for calculating grades within a course. Using the program you will need to calculate the relative "weight" of each grade, rather than just adding up all the points. A points method also allows someone to score higher than 100% on any given assignment (if there is extra credit allowed on the assignment or test), but this program can't include (you have to add extra credit separately).
There is no way to cancel entering data if you hit a button by mistake. You have to enter a grade, save the grade, then go back and delete the grade. I tried this multiple times to confirm it, and the delete button only works after you save the grade first. Poor design right there.
Pros: Nice interface, intuitive controls, nice graphics
Cons: Lacking some customization and use features, input method can be difficult at times (figuring out the relative grades and weights), no summary information available
All in all, this is a nice program if you just want to calculate your overall GPA. If you are looking for a more full featured, complete program for GPA management and information, you might find this program lacking. I wanted to really like this program, but the lack of some features, and some customization options left me wanting more. This app costs $1.99, so the price isn't prohibitive. Three and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benfits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.
Student's Review (msbaylor):
Just to put this out there, I am still currently in college and therefore I've attempted to use this app. These are my findings:
The app is supposed to keep track of your current GPA and help you determine your needed GPA to maintain or increase your GPA.
Upon opening the app I found it to load very quickly, which is a nice touch.
When the first screen appears you will have to set up your current GPA and credit hours taken, once that is done, you'll have to set up your courses. I found the setup quite easy.
In setting up your courses, you name the course; tell the app how you want the grades tallied into your GPA – by Grade of by Scores. You can also let the app know whether you will be weighing the scores differently. Then you can save your course, the only problem I ran into, was the fact that I could not cancel setting up a new course. I had to save it, re-edit it, and then delete it.
Once you have everything setup. You can then start entering your grades for each course. The procedure for doing this is a bit clunky and to say the least after about six entries I got frustrated and gave up.
Here is how it goes: you tap on the course of your choice, then at the bottom of the screen you will be able to add you scores for the class.
So now you type in the assignment name, its weight, its grading style and its physical grade. I found having to set the weight each time very annoying and sort of clunky using the sliders as they are hard to position on just the right number. After you have completed the score, you save it and are returned to the class edit screen where you can either enter another score or save and exit.
Also on the main screen there are a couple of tools that you can use to figure out a certain GPA or what you need to maintain your current GPA. I however was unable to get any of them to work for some reason.
Maybe I am doing it wrong...maybe a tutorial could help me...
Selecting the different weighing styles confused me and I didn't see any help screen so I am sort of at a loss on what exactly the different scoring types are. There is a help screen that doesn't tell you much, has a couple of spelling errors and the scrolling of the screen is a bit buggy.
It would be nice to have a tutorial or a help screen on each screen that explain things on that particular screen. Most of the time I can figure out how to use the application but this stumped me on areas to the point f frustration, so n the end I would not recommend this app for keeping track of your grades. Maybe tracking you courses - like the final course grade, but not the assignments themselves.
There are some obvious bugs that need to be fixed. I think there should be some sort of tutorial to get you started (the website also contains no help). And finally I like to see the UI spiffed up a bit. Currently I don't recommend using this application, pen & paper seem better and more efficient for now...
-Track cumulative GPA as well as current GPA
-Clunky UI for inputting grades
-No tutorial for getting started and/or lack of help
-UI is a bit buggy
-Tools don't seem to work correctly (at least I couldn't get them to do so
More screen shots can be found here.
Recommendation: Not recommended