Cobra Learning - Creating a grade book

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Creating a grade book

  1. Understanding grade book
  2. Selecting a grading system
  3. Selecting a grade scheme
  4. Grades Setup Wizard

Understanding grade book

A grade book contains your grading system, grade calculations, grade scheme, grade items, and view and display options. Grade items in your grade book represent all the work that you want to evaluate users on in a course. You can evaluate specific tasks such as assignments, tests, and participation, and you can also create grade items and associate them with course objects such as Dropbox and Quizzes.

You must set up a grade book before you can use the Grades tool. As you plan your grade book, consider:

  • What grade items you plan to evaluate.
  • Which grading system is most appropriate for your course.
  • How you will allocate points or weights across grade items.
  • Which grade items you want to associate with course objects.
  • If you want to include a milestone grade at least once during the course.
  • How you want to calculate final grades.

Note Making changes to a grade book's settings and calculation options after you begin tracking users' grades can significantly affect existing data.

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Selecting a grading system

Selecting a grading system is the first step in setting up your grade book.

The grading system determines how the grade items in your grade book contribute to users’ final grades. There are three options:

  • Grade items can count as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%.
  • Grade items can be worth a certain amount of points that are totaled for a final grade.
  • You can define a custom formula for how grade items contribute to a final grade.

Choose the option that best matches how you plan to evaluate users.

Weighted system

The weighted system calculates grade items as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. The Max. Points you assign to individual grade items can be any value, but their contribution towards the category they belong to and the final grade is the percentage value (weight) assigned to them.

Grade items in a category count as a percentage of that category, not of the final grade. Therefore, grade items in a category should combine to a weight of 100%.

For example, if you have a category worth 10% of the final grade with two equally weighted grade items, the weight of each grade item is 50%, (its contribution to the category), not 5% (its contribution to the final grade).

Since it's a category’s weight and not an individual grade item’s weight that counts toward the final grade, the final grade is inaccurate until all the items in the category are graded. Therefore, releasing calculated final grades to users before the end of the course might be misleading.

If your grade items do not add up to 100% you receive a warning message. You can ignore this message if you choose; a balanced grade book is not required. If the weights assigned to grade items do not sum to 100%, the tool adjusts the weight of each item. For example if you have three grade items with a weight of 25% each, each item is actually calculated as 33%. This is true for categories and the final grade.

Points system

Use the points system when you want the Max. Points assigned to a grade item to be equal to its contribution to the final grade. Final grades are calculated by adding a user’s score on all grade items together and dividing by the sum of the Max. Points values. The sum of the Max. Points values for all grade items does not need to equal 100.

With the points system you do not specify a category’s weight or total points. It is the Max. Points assigned to an individual grade item that counts toward the final grade.

Tip Make sure the Max. Points assigned to grade items reflect how much you want them to be worth. For example, don’t grade each of your 20 homework assignments out of 50 points and then your final exam out of 80 points.

Another option in the point system is to exclude an item from the final grade calculation. This enables you to evaluate a grade category, numeric grade item, selectbox grade item, or pass/fail grade item without including the grade in users’ calculated or adjusted final grades. The Exclude from Final Grade Calculation check box is available from the Grading section of the New/Edit Item page and the New/Edit Category page.

You can achieve similar functionality in the weighted system by setting the grade item or category’s weight to 0%.

Formula system

Use the formula system when you want to calculate final grades using a custom formula that allows for conditions. The formula system is based on the points system, but allows you to set conditions around grade items to determine the final grade. For example, you could require that users receive at least 50% on their midterm and final exam to pass a course.

Note The formula system might not be available at your organization. If you do not have this option, you can release the adjusted final grade and calculate your custom formula manually, or you can contact your site administration about getting access to this functionality.

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Selecting a grade scheme

A grade scheme enables you to organize users’ performances on grade items into levels of achievement. A grade scheme can include any number of achievement levels. Each achievement level has its own range of acceptable grades and a symbol, such as a numeric value, letter, or text description, to represent it. You can create your own grade schemes or use schemes set up by your organization.

Grade scheme Example
Letter F, D, C, B, A, A+
Numeric 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0
Text Below Expectations, Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations

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Grades Setup Wizard

In the Grades tool, if a grade book is not set up or imported for your course, you will see the Grades Setup Wizard page when you first navigate to the tool. You can also click Setup Wizard to open it.

The Grades Setup Wizard guides you through multiple steps that contain set up options you must choose from to create your grade book.

Tip Many options in the Grades Setup Wizard have Get help on icons you can click to find additional explanations on what each option can do.

  1. Step 1: Choose Grading System
  2. Step 2: Final Grade Released
  3. Step 3: Grade Calculations
  4. Step 4: Choose Default Grade Scheme
  5. Step 5: Managing View Display Options
  6. Step 6: Student View Display Options
  7. Step 7: Grade Setup Summary

Step 1: Choose Grading System

The grading system determines what kind of valuation system is applied to categories and grade items in your grade book.

Grading system Description

Weighted

Grade items and categories are calculated as a percentage of a final grade worth 100%. The Max. Points assigned to individual grade items can be any value, but their contribution towards the final grade is always their assigned percentage value.

Points

Grade items are calculated using a points system in which the points assigned to each grade item are totaled for the final grade.

Formula

Grade items are calculated using the points system, but a custom defined formula is used to set conditions around how grade items contribute to the final grade.

See Grading systems.

Step 2: Final Grade Released

You can choose the type of final grade calculation you want to release to students.

Option Description

Calculated Final Grade

The final grade calculated by the grade book. You cannot adjust the final grade without adjusting grade item scores.

Adjusted Final Grade

You can manually change the final grade calculation without affecting grade item scores.

Step 3: Grade Calculations

The grade calculations step provides additional choices for calculating users’ grades. Specifically, it lets you decide how you want to calculate ungraded items and whether you want to keep users’ final grades up to date automatically.

Option Description

Drop ungraded items

Grade items that you have not entered grades for are not counted towards users’ milestone grades and final grades. They are ignored in both calculation types.

Assign a 0 for grade items you want to treat as incomplete or grade 0.

Treat ungraded items as 0

Grade items that you have not entered grades for automatically count as 0 towards users’ final grades.

Select this option if you leave grade items blank because no work was submitted and you do not want to manually evaluate incomplete grade items.

Note If you add new items to the grade book later, users receive 0 until you update their scores.

Automatically keep final grade updated

If you select this check box, final grades are automatically adjusted after changing a grade item or a calculation option. If you do not select this option, you must manually go to grade book to perform final grade recalculations.

Tip Do not select this check box if you need to reduce page reload time for a grade book that contains a large class size.

Step 4: Choose Default Grade Scheme

Grade schemes define how grades are organized or labeled within a course or for a specific grade item. You can create grade schemes at the organization level and make them available to courses, or you can create grade schemes for use only at the course level.

Tip Select a grade scheme that matches how final grades are released to users by your institution. For example, if letter grades (e.g. A, B+, C-) are used at your institution, create or select an existing Letter grade scheme and apply it as the default grade scheme.

Step 5: Managing View Display Options

This step controls how you see grade calculation data.

Option Description

Number of decimal places to display

You can set the number of decimal places that display for items in your grade book. The default value is 2 and the maximum value is 5. (This option does not manage how many decimal places are displayed to students. See Student View Display Options for more information.)

Note This option does not control how many decimals the Grades tool rounds to when calculating grades. The calculation logic is set by your organization’s site administrator.

Step 6: Student View Display Options

This step controls how grades appear to users. You can set whether they see their grades as straight values, percentages, or scheme levels, and whether they can see the calculation method (logic) behind their final grade.

Option Description

Points grade

This setting determines whether or not the Points grade value associated with a grade item is displayed in the student view of grades.

E.g., 6/10.

Weighted grade

This setting determines whether or not the Weighted grade value associated with a grade item is displayed in the student view of grades.

E.g., 3/5 (for a user who scored 60% on a grade item worth 50% of a category worth 10% of the final grade).

Note This option is only available if you choose the Weighted grading system in Step 2.

Grade scheme symbol

Releasing the grade scheme symbol to a user shows them the scheme level they received on a grade item.

E.g., “Good”, "A-"

Grade scheme color

Releasing the grade scheme color shows a user the color associated with the scheme level they received.

E.g., .

Number of decimal places to display

Controls the number of decimal places users see in the grade book. The default value is 2 and the maximum value is 5.

Note This option only changes how many decimals display; it does not control how many decimals the Grades tool rounds to when calculating grades. The calculation logic is set by your organization’s site administration.

Number of characters to display for Text items

Controls the number of characters users see for a text item. When setting this value you should try to find a balance between presenting enough information for users to recognize the Text item and keeping the item short enough that it displays nicely. The default value is 15 and the maximum value is 50.

Display final grade calculation to users

Displaying the final grade calculation to users allows them to view how their final grade was calculated. They can see which grade items contributed to their final grade and how much, which grade items were bonus grades, and whether their grade was adjusted.

Note This option is only available in the weighted and points grading systems.

Step 7: Grade Setup Summary

The final step summarizes the choices you made while setting up your grade book. If you change your mind on any of the choices, click Go Back to return to the step and adjust it. Clicking Finish on this page completes the set up and takes you to a list of options for continuing work in the Grades tool:

  • Create a New Grade Category
  • Create a New Grade Item
  • Import Grades
  • Create a New Grade Scheme
  • Manage Grade Items and Categories
  • Enter Grades

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See Also:


Tech Service Desk: Contact and Hours

Room A184 * 217-353-3333 * techhelp@parkland.edu * 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. M-Th. / 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Fridays

Satellite location * Parkland Library * 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. M-Th. / 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Fridays




Keywords:gradebook scheme grading setup wizard   Doc ID:48692
Owner:Bob R.Group:Parkland College
Created:2015-03-11 15:40 CSTUpdated:2015-06-10 12:34 CST
Sites:Parkland College
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