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02-20-2021
06:22 PM

For discussions, I drop the lowest grade.

I have several students who have plagiarized on discussion posts and as a result have forfeited having their '0' on the plagiarized post dropped.

Is there a way to override the rule for particular students?

If not, other thoughts on how to deal with the situation?

Solved! Go to Solution.

1 Solution

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02-20-2021
07:22 PM

There is no provision for "drop the lowest grade except for a 0," although that idea has been brought up previously in the Community.

There are a couple of ways to handle this if you are using assignment groups so that all of your discussions are in the same group. I'm assuming you are since you're dropping the lowest discussion. I'm also going to use the word "cheat" as a shortcut for typing out "plagiarized."

The first approach is to create a fake assignment in that discussion group and make it worth more than any of the other discussions. Make it a "no submission" assignment and don't put a due date on it. For the students who have plagiarized, then put a 0 in for this assignment. For everyone else, leave it blank. The no submission will keep students from turning something in and getting a grade (ruining the whole scheme) and not putting a due date on it will keep it off their To Do list because you really don't want them to do it. If your discussions are not all the same number of points, then do this approach instead of the second one.

For example, all of my discussions are in an assignment group called "Discussions" and they are all worth 10 points. I could create an assignment called "Discussion Penalty" and make it worth 100 points (11 would also work, but 100 drives the point home). The description would be something alerting them to what is happening, that most students should not have a grade for this assignment and that if you do, it's because you plagiarized and have lost the ability to drop the lowest discussion grade.

I'm going to assume that there are 15 discussions, each worth 10 points, plus 1 fake discussion worth 100 points. I'm going to create two students, each one averaged 7/10=70% for all of the discussions *other than* their lowest one.

- The first student cheated and has 98 (14*7+1*0) points with the lowest discussion being 0. That student has 98/150=65.33% before any grades are dropped.
- The second student didn't cheat and has a low score of 5 points with 103 points total (14*7+1*5). That student has 103/150=68.67% before any grades are dropped.

Here's what happens in the grading.

- For students who cheated and have any grade in the fake discussion assignment, it is considered part of their score. Since that assignment is worth more than any other assignment in the category, including it with a 0 would hurt their grade the most, so Canvas will drop it and keep all of the other discussions. Assuming that they have scores for all 15 discussions, their point total would be out of 150 and include the 0 for the plagiarized discussion (the 100 point assignment and the 0 points for it are dropped). My first student would get 98/150=65.33% for the discussion group. Their grade didn't change from the 65.33% they had with all of the discussions counted.
- For students who didn't cheat and don't have a grade for the fake discussion assignment, Canvas will ignore it completely. That means that the regular drop rules will apply and the students will get the one discussion dropped. Assuming that they have scores for all 15 discussions, their point total would be out 140 since we are dropping one of the discussions. My second student would drop the 5 points to get a total of 98 and then 98/140=70%. Their grade improved when the lowest grade was dropped.

The second way takes a slightly different approach but gives the same result mathematically. It only works if all discussion assignments are worth the same points. If so, then you can create a fake assignment as before, but worth the same number of points as the other discussions and add a rule to "never drop" it. You don't want to make it have a higher point value in this approach or it will further penalize the student.

The math is the same, but the messaging is slightly different. Using the first approach, the student will see that the penalty assignment is dropped and they kept the 0 for the plagiarized discussion. With the second approach, the student will see that the penalty was kept and the one they cheated on was dropped. Which approach you choose may come down how you want them to perceive their actions.

You do not need to go through and excuse the penalty assignment for students who didn't plagiarize. It won't hurt if you do, but you can just leave it blank.

1 Reply

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02-20-2021
07:22 PM

There is no provision for "drop the lowest grade except for a 0," although that idea has been brought up previously in the Community.

There are a couple of ways to handle this if you are using assignment groups so that all of your discussions are in the same group. I'm assuming you are since you're dropping the lowest discussion. I'm also going to use the word "cheat" as a shortcut for typing out "plagiarized."

The first approach is to create a fake assignment in that discussion group and make it worth more than any of the other discussions. Make it a "no submission" assignment and don't put a due date on it. For the students who have plagiarized, then put a 0 in for this assignment. For everyone else, leave it blank. The no submission will keep students from turning something in and getting a grade (ruining the whole scheme) and not putting a due date on it will keep it off their To Do list because you really don't want them to do it. If your discussions are not all the same number of points, then do this approach instead of the second one.

For example, all of my discussions are in an assignment group called "Discussions" and they are all worth 10 points. I could create an assignment called "Discussion Penalty" and make it worth 100 points (11 would also work, but 100 drives the point home). The description would be something alerting them to what is happening, that most students should not have a grade for this assignment and that if you do, it's because you plagiarized and have lost the ability to drop the lowest discussion grade.

I'm going to assume that there are 15 discussions, each worth 10 points, plus 1 fake discussion worth 100 points. I'm going to create two students, each one averaged 7/10=70% for all of the discussions *other than* their lowest one.

- The first student cheated and has 98 (14*7+1*0) points with the lowest discussion being 0. That student has 98/150=65.33% before any grades are dropped.
- The second student didn't cheat and has a low score of 5 points with 103 points total (14*7+1*5). That student has 103/150=68.67% before any grades are dropped.

Here's what happens in the grading.

- For students who cheated and have any grade in the fake discussion assignment, it is considered part of their score. Since that assignment is worth more than any other assignment in the category, including it with a 0 would hurt their grade the most, so Canvas will drop it and keep all of the other discussions. Assuming that they have scores for all 15 discussions, their point total would be out of 150 and include the 0 for the plagiarized discussion (the 100 point assignment and the 0 points for it are dropped). My first student would get 98/150=65.33% for the discussion group. Their grade didn't change from the 65.33% they had with all of the discussions counted.
- For students who didn't cheat and don't have a grade for the fake discussion assignment, Canvas will ignore it completely. That means that the regular drop rules will apply and the students will get the one discussion dropped. Assuming that they have scores for all 15 discussions, their point total would be out 140 since we are dropping one of the discussions. My second student would drop the 5 points to get a total of 98 and then 98/140=70%. Their grade improved when the lowest grade was dropped.

The second way takes a slightly different approach but gives the same result mathematically. It only works if all discussion assignments are worth the same points. If so, then you can create a fake assignment as before, but worth the same number of points as the other discussions and add a rule to "never drop" it. You don't want to make it have a higher point value in this approach or it will further penalize the student.

The math is the same, but the messaging is slightly different. Using the first approach, the student will see that the penalty assignment is dropped and they kept the 0 for the plagiarized discussion. With the second approach, the student will see that the penalty was kept and the one they cheated on was dropped. Which approach you choose may come down how you want them to perceive their actions.

You do not need to go through and excuse the penalty assignment for students who didn't plagiarize. It won't hurt if you do, but you can just leave it blank.

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