I am in the process of designing a feature that allows a teacher to select students from the previous year who they used our product with, and be able to update the records of those students to the current grade / school in a grid.

The problem I am facing is showing the teacher the school and grade from the previous year, while having it be prominent enough they must choose the new entry to keep the data clean.

Below is a poor mockup, but illustrates the issue I am trying to resolve. having 2 data entries in one cell, seems a bit overwhelming I believe.


  • I'm a bit curious of the fact that you chose to have School and Grade as columns, since they are not directly related. You could get grades studying a Course, not a School. Please enlight me. – Benny Skogberg Mar 19 '13 at 20:59
  • You could show the previous year by default, and have a required "update" option, either in the cell or elsewhere in the UI. The big question this presents for me is, what about when there are more than 3 students? That would lead to a LOT of repetitive clicking on dropdowns. Have you considered breaking out the action of updating, perhaps making it something that can be done to several rows at once, assuming the have been checked or selected? – dennislees Mar 19 '13 at 21:53
  • @BennySkogberg grade in this case is not the letter grade for the course but what year the student is in the school. In the US school starts in Kindergarten then progresses from Grade 1 - 12. Typically K-5 is elementary school, 6-8 is middle school, and 9-12 is high school though there can be slight variation in the start/end grade of middle school district to district. – Charles Wesley Mar 19 '13 at 22:47

There seems to be some subtle interactions missing in the wireframe. Personally, it seems like updating records and importing them are two different steps, or at least two separate actions. You have provided a way for people to find the results, so there should be some mechanism that allows the user to select the entries that you want to import, separate from the updating function (which might have Save/Cancel buttons). Just wondering if there should be a select all/remove all feature as well, assuming that users can select individual rows to import. I think it is okay to have two columns to update, and depending on whether the selection is retrieved from a database or free text entry is allowed it will need to be refined. I think the previous school should be selected default value, and the grade increased by one from last year so that no unnecessary changes are required.

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