Do points matter if you are using weighted assignment groups?

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Community Participant

I realize this is kind of a dumb question, but  I have not been able to find an answer.

I am using weighted assignment groups, and everything is graded as either complete/incomplete or with my own grading scheme (pass/needs revision/missing).

What I can't figure out is: under these conditions, does it matter how many points I make an assignment? Would it make sense to just make everything worth the same number of points and let the weighting sort it out? Or is that going to have some weird effect on the final grade? 

I've never used points for grading in my pre-LMS life, and I have t rouble trying to understand what points are supposed to represent. Hence my frustration with Canvas!

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Community Contributor

Yes, points matter. Let's say that you have a ten-week course, and one of your Assignment Groups is "Weekly Quizzes."  Most likely, you would want each weekly quiz to have the same level of importance (e.g. 10 quizzes at 10 points each). However, let's say, that you want to emphasize the quizzes given during the second half of the course. Then you might do this instead (5 quizzes at 5 points each; 5 quizzes at 15 points each). In both scenarios, you've doled out 100 points for that Assignment Group.

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Community Champion

I like to think of the assignment groups as gradebooks within gradebooks, and using weighted grades means your course total points is 1 (or 100%).  

So, for example, in your situation if the student got 90/100 for dialogues, that is 90%.  90% of 40 is 36.  That's .36 points towards the final grade. 

If a student got 150/300, 50% of Creative projects, 50% of 25 is 12.5, so that is .125 points towards the final grade. 

.125+.36 = .485 towards the final grade. 

So to answer your question, "what is the difference than if  the assignments in both groups added up to 100  points?" the only difference is you've chosen to group those assignments to make them add up to a percentage of their final grade. 

Most folks who use weighted grades use it to ensure that different types of assignments effect (weigh) differently to effect the final grade.  For example, in higher ed. we often want assessments to weigh much more than home work or assignments.  So if I would make assessments weigh 80% and homework 20%, I'm guaranteed that no matter how many points are given for homework, it will only be worth 20% of the final grade.  So, if a student did no homework assignments in the course, the best they could ever get in the course, assuming they received perfect scores on the assessments, would be an 80%. 


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Community Contributor

Exactly right, the number of points in each category is irrelevant. Student might be able to earn up to 50 points in "Thought Experiments" and 200 points in their "Creative Project." Since both Assignment Groups are worth 25% of the students' final grade, a student would get 80% for a score of 40 points in "Thought Experiments" and 80% for a score of 160 points on the Creative Project.

I award points to my students for individual assignments and quizzes, but I remind them that not all points are equal in terms of their final grades.

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