Attendance list for tracking students? Looking for a better solution

I’m a what is called mobile teacher in my country, which means that I drive from school to school for my lessons.
Till now I’ve tracked students attendance with a handwritten notebook but I want to go digitally. It is annoying to not have the notebook at hand and I’d like to have a better overview.

My first approach was a checklist in but this was so long that I was scrolling most of the time to find my entries.
My second one was Numbers, which I like a lot and which is both visually and technically. The thing is, it’s more complicated than it needs to be. I tried checkboxes but it wasn’t visually appeasing so I decided to strike those who aren’t in my course. The thing is, it is not that handy on the phone. Striking through text is easy on the Mac, especially with Keyboard Maestro, but on the phone… Numbers starts very slow and it is the opposite of easy to use.
So my third idea was using Craft which works fine but the spreadsheet functionality is rather limited.

Does anyone have another idea or software solution that might help my problem?
I’m very glad for any answer. :slight_smile:

Sorry about this self promotion, but it seems like a sensible option. I’ve got an app that I wrote to fill my needs a few years back, though I haven’t done anything with it for a few years (I only just started using it again myself two months ago, in fact).

Its main purpose is to let me do attendance quickly with a tap cycling through no record, present, absent and late with date automatically recorded with a neat little history visible. It also lets me see student photos (my memory is terrible) and also track some other things quickly on my phone. If you could be bothered to set it up, I think this would be ideal for you.

It’s called Working Class and costs some money, but I’d be happy to send you a code for TestFlight. I don’t know a way to actually gift it.

Otherwise, Notes does checklists and you have the option to check/uncheck all at once, so it is quick and simple to use.

I also used to use TeacherKit, which I think went subscription only a few years back, but it’s a much more polished app!


My first thought was Google Keep, my favorite for creating checklists. I’m thinking I would create one list for each class with the name of the school, class, data etc. followed by a checklist of student names. Then check off those in attendance when we meet.

After class I would duplicate the list and either archive it, or export a copy to Google Docs. Then I would reset my original list by unchecking all names with a single click.

Like everything Google you can use the web but I prefer the Keep IOS app.

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There is an attendance template in Google Sheets that looks pretty good.
You can go down the column typing P for Present, L for late, etc. and it’s pretty fast - P [return] L [return] etc.
The Sheets app works on or offline too.


The AnyList app may also work well for this purpose if all you want to do is check and uncheck attendance. It has a “global” uncheck function so with one click you can uncheck all checked names as needed. I use AnyList for the family grocery list but you can create most any list (hence the name) with it.

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I think @Bmosbacker’s suggestion of AnyList is a good one. It’d probably work well for this.

I take attendance with index cards. I set out white ones and then when class begins, I swap them for yellow ones. I ask students to write their name and the date on one side and then I give them a prompt, usually drawing something silly, and collect them. A TA enters them into a pretty intense Google Sheets document.

If I didn’t do all that, I’d probably create Google Form that fed a Google Sheets doc. I might even ask the students to fill it out. And I’d probably put a question on it to collect info that’d be hard to get otherwise. My favorite default question is something like “What questions do you still have about [today’s topic]?” or “What was confusing about [today’s topic]?”


I use Google Forms, one form for each class. I set up radio buttons or drop-down options for each possibility for each student.

I also add the students’ ID photos, because it helps me learn names. That means it takes some time to set the form up initially, but it would be really quick to do without the photos.

Then I just bookmark the response link in Safari so I can access it quickly in class.

I end up with nice-looking charts if I want them, and it’s just one click to dump all of the data into a Google Sheet.


One word of caution about using cloud services: storing student data on servers in other countries/legal jurisdictions is not permitted at some educational institutions. I was not permitted to use any commercial cloud services when I was teaching at the university level. Privacy laws where I live would also not have allowed that.


Thanks for mentioning that, @annee. Though I imagine, you could de-identify students and be okay.

Some US universities have FERPA-compliant Google Suite accounts, which would make the Google Form/Sheets approach :ok_hand:.


If they’ve been vaccinated, you should be able to track them using 5G. You might have to go to Bill Gates’ Apple Store to sign a contract for the data though.


Some neat ideas here — the Google spreadsheet shared by @beck is impressive! I find Drafts to be such a useful tool for when I need to get something done quickly, so here’s what I did this past semester:

  • At the begining of the semester create a Drafts Action to Insert Text. I insert a heading level date variable then add the students names as a checklist.
  • When I start/finish class, I simply run the action and check off the list.
  • At mid-semester, I realized that attendance was good enough that checking off student names was a waste of time, so instead I updated the Drafts Action to have all of the students checked off, so then I updated my workflow to simply uncheck anyone who was absent or late.
  • At the end of the week, OmniFocus gives me a nudge to update a Numbers spreadsheet to add any missing hours.

I trust the spreadsheet function of Numbers, but I appreciate the speed of working with Drafts in a busy classroom environment. Also, sometimes I am working with an iPad and other times a Mac, so I need parity between devices for tasks like this. I was only working with two classes of less than twenty students, so I’m not sure this would work for going “from school to school” if there are lots of students involved.


Do you use a learning management system at your school? If so, does it have an attendance tool? If not, you might be able to set up the grade book to do this.

Perhaps it depends on when you want to enter the attendance? You could simply take a photo on your phone of the classroom at the beginning of the class and when you have time later or are in a space where you have access to your digital tools look at the photo and enter the data.

Tinderbox is an excellent tool if you’re on a mac. It allows you to create your own meta data and is extremely powerful should you need to manipulate the data.