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Use saved what if scores only for ungraded assignments

There are two issues with Canvas gradebook that mislead students in my courses.

1. The "drop n lowest scores" drops scores at all times. Generally, later quizzes have lower scores, so this tends to overstate scores. [Why don't gradebooks have a "keep highest N-n scores" option, given that in presence of uncertainty, one needs to use modal logic?]

2. When I set up "extra-credit" assignments, they affect the grade till the final exam grade is posted. This leads to endless questions of "how come not doing the extra-credit homework lowered my grade?" type.

Using the "what-if" grade feature can mitigate both these. But it is a pain to enter these after each quiz is graded. But using the saved what-if scores overwrites the newly posted actual grade. It will help if the students can mix the previously entered what-if scores, and the subsequently posted actual scores.

Is there any solution to this?

Thanks in advance for all help

Nath Rao

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@rao_3 -

Those are a couple of good questions.

for 1) This would have to be addressed as a new idea, but adding and commenting on new ideas is temporarily closed while Instructure cleans it up and reorganizes the idea. **The idea Conversation and how to add one is here**.

As a possible work-around (not sure how well this will work, but you can play around with it). You did not mention the age of your students, so hopefully they are old enough to understand some explanations on how the grade is calculated. If you have all your assignments created ahead of time and they are then released throughout the semester, for the assignment group, select the number of lowest grades to drop (I'll just use 15 assignments and drop lowest 5). So you set the drop number of lowest assignments to 5 for the assignment group. Then put the restriction on the group that the first 10 assignments are not to be dropped. Therefore, no grades are dropped until 11 assignments have been graded. The tricky part here is once you get to 11 assignments you have to remove the assignments from the never drop list. So students will now see their top 6 scores used and lowest 5 dropped which will result in a rise in the overall course grade, but they can see that they have 11 grades, 5 dropped and 4 more to take where they could improve their scores from the ones dropped.

2) How are you assigning your extra credit? I cannot visualize how not doing the extra credit results in a drop in their grade once the final is posted. I do know that the opposite is true of having the extra credit scored and used in a grade and then a 100 is scored on an assignment and the grade drops (occurs when an assignment group has an average above 100% because of the extra credit - i.e. current group average is 105% and if an assignment worth the same amount of points as those used to get the 105% has a score of 100%, the grade drops to 102.5%)

Ron

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Thanks for the suggestion on (1). I will try this.

These are college freshmen in math classes. I did not think that they will have issues understanding this, but I had a student wondering how come he still had 100% after two bad quizzes (he had 100% on the first three, the policy was to drop the lowest two). I also heard an advisor saying that they told the students to calculate their current grade by hand, and not rely on Canvas. I suspect this had to do similar issues.

2. The problem is not after the final exam score is entered, but in the middle of the term.

For illustration, let us say there are three groups (G1, G2, G3) with weights 70%, 30% and 10%. G3 is the "extra credit" group, and G2 is the final exam, so no score till the very end. A student does not do G3.. After some of the assignments in G1 are graded, let us say the student has 80% in G1, a B in my grading scale. Canvas will show their grade as (70*80 + 10*0)/(70+10) = 70% or a C. I had students complaining because they were being "penalized" for not doing the extra credit assignments. [This was a Calculus class! I think that the problem is that weighted averages are not taught anywhere in high school or college precalculus classes, combined with general unfamiliarity with time-evolving processes in mathematical settings, and grade anxiety. In this particular instance, the extra-credit group was online homework using an external tool, and I had to put in zeros for missing submissions by hand and I did it periodically instead of every day, causing wilder swings for those who did these homeworks sporadically.]

This time, I put in a line in the syllabus suggesting that the students put in a reasonable guess for future quizzes and final exam to estimate the grade, rather than simply go with what Canvas says. But later I realized that the 'use saved what-if scores' button will replace the actual grades posted since the last time with the old 'what-if' scores, so this suggestion may not be a good thing either.

Regard

Nath Rao

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@rao_3 -

Nath -

Thanks for the clarification on point 2. I would say based on what you sent that what you are calling an extra credit group is not extra credit - it is 10% of the grade (for the way Canvas works). Grades in your case are now based on 110% instead of just 100%. I see what you want to do.

I am not able to think of a way to do what you want at this time - I normally have extra credit assignments in my various groups (just make the assignment 0 points and then give it the points earned - thus raising the points for the group.).

Just had a thought. You will have to work out the math, but you may be able to do the 0 point assignments in the 30% (or 70% actually) group. It all depends on how many points the actual assignments for that group will be worth. If you know that all the assignments in the group will be worth 200 points, then you need to figure out how many points of extra credit need to be added to that total to give you a possibility of adding 10% to the overall grade.

so 200/200 (no extra credit) adds 30 points to the course grade (other 70 points coming from the first group)

then the extra credit assignments point totals should be (40*200/100)/0.3 - 200 = 66.67 points. so If students get 100% on everything then their grade is 266.67/200*30 = 40 points.

Furthermore, the students will see the effect of the extra credit assignments as they do them throughout the semester. As stated above though, you have to know how many points the assignments will have ahead of time. I believe that Canvas uses the points earned and the points possible of all assignments to obtain a point total earned/points possible. I do not think Canvas does an average of the percent scores for each assignment in a group.

Unfortunately, as far as I know there is no extra credit assignment group.

Ron

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Thanks for the suggestion.

Unfortunately, my situation is more complicated: The "extra credit" is is actually two different groups each of which is package that is hard to fiddle with (Ximera, if you are curious). I think that I will tell the students to put in a what if score for the final exam to get a better estimate of their current grade, and to discount for the dropped quizzes in the first half of the course. If they are still confused, may be they are not ready for calculus :-^).

Regards

Nath Rao

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@rao_3 -

Thanks for the update. Yes it is more complicated. I agree, the students should be able to figure out what to do with some good instructions.

Good Luck

Ron