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Grading distributions

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A description of three commonly used grading methods in Moodle

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Grading distributions

  1. 1. Grading distributions methods to guide and assess our students
  2. 2. Why do we grade our students?  To assess student performance  To provide feedback to students  To keep students informed, engaged and motivated
  3. 3. Using assignments as a measuring tool. Most courses include assignments as a way of assessing student performance, comprehension and/or to develop problem solving skills. There are probably as many different assignment examples as there are teachers. When we create an assignment, we need to choose a value against which we measure the student’s performance.
  4. 4. How do I set an assignment value? There is no right or wrong way to do this. However, in practice, teachers may set an assignment value based upon one or more of the following criteria: Point values based upon the difficulty of an assignment Point values out of 10 or 100 to equate letter grades to student scores Higher point values to increase the ability to differentiate between student performance Custom scales such as “pass/fail” or “poor, satisfactory and excellent”
  5. 5. Myth busting! Don’t confuse points with percentages. No matter which criteria you use for setting the point values of your assignments, your course point total does not have to add up to any set point value. All courses with graded assignments will equal 100%. In other words, do not confuse points with percentages. Your course does not need to add up to 100 points to equal 100% of the course grade. Remember slicing up pieces of the pie in your 5th grade class? Well it’s the same thing when you create assignments in your college class. No matter the size or number of the individual slices, they will still make up 100% of the pie!
  6. 6. Three types of grading methods used College teachers typically use one of three grading methods that we will cover in this tutorial. The method you choose should reflect the grading distribution described in your course syllabus. The three main grading (sometimes called aggregation) methods used are: Basic points or sum of grades Basic percentage or simple weighted mean of grades Weighted mean of grades - assignments and/or categories
  7. 7. How your assignments add up...example 1 In the following example, we have created a series of assignments with different point values to show you how they would make up a course grade. This is the basic points or sum of grades method. Assignment 1 (A1) 10 points Assignment 2 (A2) 20 points Project 1 (P1) 30 points Midterm (MT) 50 points Project 2 (P2) 30 points Final 100 points Total Points 240 points 240 points = 100% (the pie)
  8. 8. Weighting assignments or assignment categories In example 1, some of the assignments, projects and tests are worth more points than others. As a result, those assignments have a bigger slice of the pie. Logically, these assignments will impact the student’s final grade more than assignments with a lesser point value. We refer to this level of importance as weighting. However, we do not need to make the course out of 100 or 1000 points to figure out assignment or category (groups of assignments) weights. That’s one of the advantages of using an online grade book.
  9. 9. How your assignments add up...example 2 In this example, we have created a series of assignments with different point values again to show you how they would make up a course grade. However, using this method, online grade books, like Moodle, convert the assignment point value to a percentage of the course grade by dividing the assignment value by the total possible course points. This is called basic percentages or simple weighted mean of grades method. Assignment Name Point Value % of Course Total Assignment 1 (A1) 10 points 4% Assignment 2 (A2) 20 points 8% Project 1 (P1) 30 points 12.50% Midterm (MT) 50 points 21% Project 2 (P2) 30 points 12.50% Final 100 points 42% Course Total 240 points 100%
  10. 10. How your assignments add up...example 3 In the following example, we have created a series of assignments with the same point values to show you how they would make up a course grade. By switching the grading method to weighted mean of grades, we can manually enter the percentage or weight of the assignment using the percentage weight column in the online grade book. Assignment Name Point Value Weighted percentage Assignment 1 (A1) 100 5% Assignment 2 (A2) 100 10% Project 1 (P1) 100 15% Midterm (MT) 100 20% Project 2 (P2) 100 15% Final 100 35% Course Total 600 points 100%
  11. 11. How your assignments add up...example 4 The following example is a popular variation on example 3. By creating categories (folders or grouping of similar assignment types) and the grading method weighted mean of grades, we can manually enter the percentage or weight of the assignment category using the percentage weight column in the online grade book. Assignment Category Assignments Point Values Assignment 1 = 10 Weighted percentage 15% Assignment 2 = 20 Project 1 = 30 Projects 25% Project 2 = 30 Midterm = 50 Tests and Exams Final Exam = 100 40% Attendance = 30 Participation 20% Participation = 20 Course Total 290 points 100%
  12. 12. Which grading method should you choose? The key to choosing the right grading (or aggregation) method lies in your syllabus. That is where your grading journey begins. Your syllabus should show students how the goals and objectives of the class are linked to assignments and how, in turn, the assignment grades are calculated. Remember, the grade book is not an end in itself, but a means to... assess provide keep student performance feedback to students students informed, engaged and motivated

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