I'm working on an app for teachers, that allows teachers to input a class list, and filter students by gender and performance before submitting for further processing. At the moment, the second step is as shown below - the class list inputted in Step 1 populates a list that is drag and drop enabled - the user drags the student names and drops them into the appropriate gender column, performance box, before moving on to the next step.

(the middle column is boys, the rightmost column is girls)

Step 2 - Sort Students

My question is if drag and drop is sufficient for this, or if there is a better or more intuitive alternative that would allow for easier processing. The criteria as I see it is as follows:

  • student lists would be expected to be contain 20-25 students (but could theoretically be larger).
  • The majority of users will be using a laptop or desktop as the input device, so drag and drop without a touchscreen may not be the best option.
  • The reasoning behind sorting by gender is that automated reports are generated further down the line, and the gender is used to dictate pronoun usage.

Any suggestions or feedback would be appreciated.

  • I missed the gender sorting in my answer. If those are already differentiated doing two tables one for each gender could work. Or is the teacher the one who has to enter the gender information (indirectly)?
    – Alvaro
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 12:04
  • yes - unfortunately the teacher also has to enter in the gender information for the student, which in my original example would be done by dragging the names into one of the two columns. So before I could use a table of checkboxes (or rather, two tables), I'd first have to sort the list of names by gender.
    – mike
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 12:48
  • You could make the table "bigger" including 3 more columns, so it would end up having 3 columns for boys and 3 for girls. This way you can keep everyone in the same table. But I am not sure if it would be the best solution.
    – Alvaro
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


The approach by Alvaro is correct, so I'd suggest that with only one difference: instead of checkboxes, use radio buttons since these are unique variables for each student.

But more important: no matter how I see it, I finde it really weird that the user has to enter gender, and it's adding a layer of friction that should be taken in account by providing an initial step where the gender is defined. This initial step could be performed in any way: defined at admin level, defined by the student itself and imported from database and lastly, defined by teacher. Either way, this comes first, then the system should discriminate internally, more if this is needed for further purposes.

Think about this: a student has a gender, and it won't change. However, anything else related to the student performance will vary, so it makes no sense to include gender as a variable when ot clearly is a fixed value.

Fonally, just imagine the teacher making a mistake between all this checkboxes or radio buttons or whatever and changing gender to a student. This could end in a lot of problems for the student, for the teacher and even for the school. So you'd be creating trouble rather than a solution.

In short: be very, very careful about this

  • For what it's worth, I agree - there is already a student database in place, however as it stands, I don't have access to it. Hopefully in the future that will change, in which case many of these layers will be removed, but for now, the only option available is for the teacher to manually select the gender of the student.
    – mike
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 15:43
  • then as I said, it has to be done BEFORE this step, it's a question of Information Architecture and it will ease your work and the user flow
    – Devin
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:37

Edit: As the teacher also needs to make the differentiation of gender, it looks like you have two actions to perform, select:

  1. Gender

  2. Performance

So I think you can approach these two at once or in two separate states:

Solution A:

gender table grade table

Solution B:

One table

Original: Your solution works similarly to the WordPress widgets editable area (in case you need some ideas from it).

A simple option could be entering the information in a table, that can be clicked so it doesn't suppose any problem for non-touch devices.

I am utilising a solution I proposed to a similar question

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