Two Gradebook Enhancements That Improve Instructional Flexibility
The 2015-2016 school year has been the year of gradebook enhancements here at Schoology. In August, we brought you Tiered Grading Periods, making it easier to calculate overall grades and display grading reports.
In November, the gradebook got a makeover with a new look and feel, plus some useful new tools like Grade Period Sorting, View Filter, and Shortcuts to Submissions to help make accessing your gradebook and grading student work faster and easier.
In March, we brought you Missing codes, by popular demand, to help you keep track of your students’ work.
Now we’re back with more. We want the Schoology Gradebook to be flexible enough to fit all instructional approaches, grading practices, and classroom activities, which is why we’ve closed the gap on our exception codes and added a new Total Points column option for your gradebook.
Exception Code Updates
We’ve added exception codes—Excused, Incomplete, and Missing—to tests/quizzes, closing the gap on exceptions in the Schoology Gradebook so that you can now use the exception icons on ALL graded material types in your course.
If a student makes a submission to the test/quiz after you’ve already given them an exception in your gradebook, you’ ll still get a submission notification, as well as the option to determine whether you’d like to replace the exception with the calculated score, or leave it how it is.
And last, but not least, the “Excused” code now exempts students from student completion rules, so you can allow a student to bypass a certain item in a self-paced folder.
With these enhancements, you can make the most of exceptions to easily individualize your course materials.
And, now that all exception codes can be applied to all graded materials, you can use the View filters to easily identify missing and incomplete submissions as you wrap up your grading period.
Reminder: “Missing” passes back as zero to your SIS gradebook, whereas “Excused” and “Incomplete” indicators pass back as blank or null values
Visit our Help Center to learn more about Exceptions.
Your New Total Points Column
The new Total Points columns allows you as the course admin to count up as your students achieve points throughout the duration of a course, rather than displaying an overall percentage average score.
Let’s explore the example above. In the Gradebook above, Jordan has earned 210 out of the total possible 743 points. This is an absolute value of the points earned, whereas the "Overall Calc. %" column calculates a percentage average based on other factors like grading category weights, grading period weights, and factors on materials.
If you have an item in your course that you do not want to count towards the total possible points value, you can either leave the item without a grading category and instead choose (Ungraded) from the category drop-down menu on the item; or, you can unpublish the item to prevent its point value from counting toward the total points sum.
In the syllabus pictured above, the instructor weights the different elements of the course using point values, with the opportunity to earn a total of 1,000 points throughout the semester. The course admin can set up Grading Categories in Grade Setup and choose for each grading category to be calculated by total points rather than by percentage.
Pro Tip: If you choose to enable the total points column, check “Hide overall grades” and “Hide grading period grades” from student reports, since those will still be displayed as a percentage.
In addition to making your overall grade scale more flexible, the Total Points column lends itself to a variety of teaching methods and activities, including gamification. You can structure your gradebook and course materials around tasks, badges, and other gamified learning opportunities. This allows students to focus on total achieved, rather than total possible, points.
Over to you—how might you use total points in your classroom?