Welcome to the Avenue to Learn Assessment Tools – Grades workshop. This is a blended workshop – meaning that before you attend the in-person session, you will have viewed the resources on this page, tried some of these tasks in a course shell and then attended our face-to-face working session where you will put what you’ve learned into practice. We strongly encourage you to bring materials that you might use for your course to the session, that way you will be able to use that time for developing your actual course. If you do not have all your materials prepared, that’s fine, bring what you can to the session. The outcomes for this course are:
You will be able to configure the Grades tool to display the grades that are listed in your Course Outline/Syllabus.
You will personalize how the grades in the Grades tool are displayed.
Here you will learn how to set up your gradebook, create grade items and input grades.
When you receive your course, you might typically setup your Content and Announcements. The next thing that should be setup is your Grades. If you setup your Grades before you configure Discussions, Dropbox, Quizzes or other digital assessment tools, you can connect the two tools within Avenue. When you grade online, the marks will automatically appear not only in the assessment, but in the Grades tool as well. When you first access the Grades tool, you will be asked to go through the Grades Setup Wizard. The Setup Wizard will help with general configuration of your course gradebook.
Grade Items and Grade Categories
There are two types of options that can be created in Grades; Categories and Items. A Category is an organizer for grades, and allows you to group grades together. Grade Items are the things that you would actually mark. For most gradebooks that have four or five items for marking, Items would be sufficient for your needs. However, when you have more complex grading methods, you may need to create a grade Category to solve your needs. How do you know if you need a grade Category?
There are two reasons that you might want to apply a grade Category in your course. The first reason is that you have a series of items with difficult math to calculate. In cases where you have a series of 7 quizzes and each of them are marked out of 15, however the quizzes make up a total of 25 percent of the overall grade of the course, a category might make a lot of sense to help easily calculate what each quiz is individually worth. The second case is when you have a series of items (say 7 quizzes), and you want to drop a mark (for example to keep the best 6 of the 7 grades). Categories can drop Items within them, especially if configured to do so.
Creating Grade Items
Once your gradebook has been configured, you will want to start creating some Grade Items. Most Grade Items will be numeric however, there are other types of Grade Items that you can create (selectbox, pass/fail, formula, calculated and text).
To create a grade Item, follow these steps:
1. In your course, go to Assessments and select Grades.
2. If you have not completed the Grades Setup Wizard, it will appear. You can safely ignore it, and select Manage Grades from the tabs at the top of the course (just underneath the menu options).
3. Press the blue New button, and select Item.
4. Select Numeric if you want a grade Item that you assess with a numeric value. For this example, and most of your needs, numeric is the correct choice. Feel free to explore other grade Item types.
5. When configuring a Numeric Grade Item, the only required fields to enter are Name and Weight. Name is the name of the Item, which is displayed to both you and students. Short name is displayed only when the spreadsheet has many items on screen, or you’re viewing the gradebook on a device that has a small display. Short names for items with titles containing “Assignment” or “Analysis” are suggested to prevent the system from shortening these titles in unfortunate ways.
6. (OPTIONAL) Moving down the screen, if you have created a grade Category, you can select the grade Category here.
7. Maximum Points refers to the number that you would mark the item out of. Many people map both the points that they would mark the item out of and the value it is worth in the syllabus. For instance, you could mark an exam out of 100, but have it worth only 35% of the final grade. In that case, you would enter 100 here.
8. Weight refers to the percentage that this item is worth. If you have chosen a Category for this grade Item, you may not be able to assign a value here depending on the options selected in the Category. In the example of the exam listed in step 7, you would enter 35 here.
9. The two following checkboxes allow you to either accept marks higher that the Maximum Points listed in step 7, and if you would like this entire grade item to be a bonus. Typically these are not checked.
10. For most uses, you have completed the steps to adding a grade Item to your course.
Below is a video to help demonstrate the process of creating a Grade Item.
After you have created grade items, you will be able to associate online tools such as Quizzes or Dropbox folder, to individual grade Items. NOTE: you cannot associate grade Categories with other assessment items.