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pbates
Community Member

Can a grading scheme be based on total points (not percentages)?

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I like to set grades in the course based on points, not percentages. This allows me to adjust values based on a mean of how the top 5 students in the course are performing (adjusts for a more/less difficult exam without "curving" it). If I do this by percentage, then it appears that I'm moving the bar. When I do this by points, it has worked well for me in the past. I don't see how to set up a points-based grading scheme.

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Accepted Solutions

Hi Kristin,

I looked at that previous discussion, and the workarounds suggested don't help with what I'm trying to do in my course. Simply converting points to a percentage of points, as suggested, is what I'm ending up doing, but it's not ideal. I adjust my course based on the mean of the top 5 students in the class. That takes care of "curving" exams, etc. and gives me some semester-to-semester consistency. I like to do that by points, posting the cutoffs regularly throughout the course so that students can see exactly where they stand. If I do that by a percentage, then that number can go up or down slightly over the course of the semester, and students can perceive it as "moving the bar". It might achieve the same thing mathematically, but the perception is different as the points cutoff always increases, whereas the percentage cutoff can move in either direction. It does not appear that the former is possible in Canvas, unfortunately.

Paul

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5 Replies
valentinesking
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Paul,

You may want to check out this previous question/discussion. The comments might answer your question.

Sky V.

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @pbates ‌ - It's been approximately six weeks since you asked your question for the Canvas Community, and I wanted to take a few minutes to check in. Was the discussion that  @valentinesking ‌ directed you to helpful? Since you asked your question, did you arrive at a solution that worked for your course? Either way, please share! It would be good to hear from you, and I'm sure others would learn from your experiences. Looking forward to hearing from you!! Smiley Happy

Hi Kristin,

I looked at that previous discussion, and the workarounds suggested don't help with what I'm trying to do in my course. Simply converting points to a percentage of points, as suggested, is what I'm ending up doing, but it's not ideal. I adjust my course based on the mean of the top 5 students in the class. That takes care of "curving" exams, etc. and gives me some semester-to-semester consistency. I like to do that by points, posting the cutoffs regularly throughout the course so that students can see exactly where they stand. If I do that by a percentage, then that number can go up or down slightly over the course of the semester, and students can perceive it as "moving the bar". It might achieve the same thing mathematically, but the perception is different as the points cutoff always increases, whereas the percentage cutoff can move in either direction. It does not appear that the former is possible in Canvas, unfortunately.

Paul

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laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I share your frustration,  @pbates ‌ although for a different reason: my class operates on a point-system where students CHOOSE what assignments to complete out of an enormous range of assignments. It would be absurd for me to convert their total points to an out-of-percentage for Canvas purposes. So, my problem is with the grading scheme for total points and the fact that it must be percentage based, similar to the problem with your grading dilemma.

I really hope this serious problem will be addressed in the new Gradebook. I've written about the Tyranny of Percentages in Canvas elsewhere:

The Tyranny of the Percentage: Part 1 

The Tyranny of the Percentage: Part 2 

https://community.canvaslms.com/people/laurakgibbs/blog/2017/03/30/the-tyranny-of-the-percentage-par... 

sbailey
Community Participant

Paul:

I feel your frustration, but unfortunately, I don't think Canvas is ever going to upgrade their LMS to allow us to do something so simple as using points.