The ability to weight assignments within a group and to show sub-totals for a group within a gradebook is, bar none, the best possible change you could make to my life and my students understanding of their progress.
My course is 24 hours per week x 7 weeks. Within that course, I assess 4 main skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
- There are 9 ungraded assignments (completion or rubric + feedback).
- There are 4 quizzes weighted at 2%, but all of them have a different points value, so each quiz needs to be in its own group.
- I give 2 unit assessments valued at 6%, comprising two reading tests (1.5% + 1.5% BUT different skills/different times needed/different points values) and two listening tests (comprehension (1.5%) and notetaking (1.5%) BUT different points values and two diff interfaces - quiz + assignment (b/c I'm using LockDown Browser, so the quiz can't have a file upload section for students' notetaking sheets).
- I give a midterm and a final assessment suite, each of which has four parts as above (2 reading & 2 listening) plus a writing assessment and a speaking assessment.
TOTAL = 29 separate columns in the gradebook. Every single part of each assessment needs to be its own group, and it's clunky as hell.
Students can't understand their grades because there is no mechanism to group them logically. I need them (and me) to see a single sub-total that reps the whole of Test 2 in addition to seeing its 4 parts. A sub-sub-total to show the reading skill vs. the listening skill assessments on Test 2 would be a bonus. Crucially, they want to know "how they did on the midterm/final" and they're stuck with 6 separate grades and no sub-total that represents that whopping 30% or 40% of the course grade.
The purpose of sharing students' grades as we go is to help them understand when they're struggling and need help, or when they're progressing successfully toward completing the course. My students have no idea where they stand, especially because the calculated grade is not visible to them as they go (departmental policy). In order to calculate it themselves (which few can to begin with), I have to share a full-page sheet that is way too complicated. It's not my wish to obfuscate students' grades! (And I don't think it's yours, either.)
Please, please, please give us a way to weight individual assessments within a group, regardless of each assessment's point value, and to show group sub-totals. This business of having to create individual groups for every graded activity wastes time, and it makes meaningful grade groupings opaque to students and teachers.
Thanks for listening!
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I teach EAP (English for Academic Purposes) to second language learners. Students are just learning vocab like "upload", and they have diverse tech backgrounds, so many struggle with having an LMS along with a new educational system. They put their files in the comments, for example, instead of uploading to the assignment, or they email stuff to me because that's what the last teacher did. Gradually, we get everyone on board, but this would save me time vs. re-opening the assignment, emailing students, etc. There is a time for that, but there is a time when I just need to get the assignment into the Speed Grader and near the rubric. Add to that an increasing number of students with accommodations who do not submit in the prescribed way for legit reasons, and you have two excellent reasons for implementing this change. Of course, there must be a mechanism to identify the prof as the "uploader".
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