Make it so when a student receives a failing grade, it is highlighted in the grade book for instructor view only.
I know with the new Gradbook, you can set your Letter grades with a color, but it might be nice to have a standard "failing" color that can be seen fairly quickly.
I really don't believe in grades as a form of feedback that will help students become better learners; is the idea to highlight this to make students even more aware of failing grades then they already are? I hope not. Students are generally hyper-aware of their failures, in a way that demoralizes and even paralyzes them.
If the idea is that this is for instructors, I would suggest that instructors can already sort the Gradebook by columns to see the lowest scores on any assignment. Sorting a column is more accurate than visual scanning anyway, right? That's even more true for large classes where you are probably having to scroll down to see all the rows. Just sort on the column to see who did poorly on an assignment or missed it.
And, just in general, it seems to me the Gradebook is really the least of your worries: working with struggling students takes time and you need to be proactive, not reactive. The key is to design the course and all the learning activities so that students who are struggling will be getting the help that they need, and you need to have feedback mechanisms (lots of feedback mechanisms, not just grades) so that students are getting the information they need to improve. There's no simple technology fix for any of that; if anything, the technology can become a distraction from the real work that is involved in course design long before any students have shown up for the class, especially in large classes.
In any case, if an idea like this does go forward, I hope it will be possible for instructors to OPT OUT. Communicating with students about grades is difficult enough already without having control taken away from us. I've written at length about this in response to the misbegotten experiment with missing/late labels in the old Gradebook (and those labels are why I cannot switch to the new Gradebook since apparently you have to turn them off assignment by assignment; there is no global off switch):
Gradebook Dismay: The Thoughtless Tyranny of Red Ink
Thank you for you feedback. I had an instructor who wanted the functionality to easily grade and see failed students. I submitted the request. I would hope it would be Instructor view only and I agree with all of your points you expressed. There was an option in Blackboard to highlight grades based on a score and that is the functionality they wanted.
Thanks for the clarification!
I remember we had a color-coding thing in D2L, which sounds similar to what you describe for Blackboard. Since I am not a fan of grades and gradebooks, it's not a feature I've been missing since we switched. :-)
I would find this useful when helping students figure out what to revise - I'd like students to be able to toggle it off and on with arbitrary % values as well based on their own goals and expectations for how well they'd like to be doing in my class. I let students revise and resubmit things quite a bit because I want them to keep working on past topics until they feel like they understand them, and being able to see which older assignments could use another visit would be helpful. (I make this easier by having consistent point values for things, so it's usually fairly easy to skim for the 7's in a sea of 10's, but still...)
Right now, I do something kind of like this with Module Requirements where I have certain numerical score goals on auto-graded things so they can easily see which quizzes they might want to work on again, but I had to turn the teacher-graded ones to be checked off by submitting instead, because I had students who were really bothered by their lack of a green checkmark until I had time to grade their submissions. I don't lock anyone out of anything based on Module Requirements - I use them as a student organizational tool so they can see right from the Modules page which things they have and haven't gotten done yet, and as a class progress tracking tool for me using Automated progress report of students in modules. I now have it set up so all of the checkmarks happen purely by student actions: viewing pages/external links, submitting teacher-graded assignments, and achieving certain scores on auto-graded quizzes. This means students can pretty much always do something right then about any missing checkmark they may have without waiting for me (I do make them request extra attempts on the quizzes after the first three to keep them from getting into a guess-and-hope loop rather than getting help if they're stuck).
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