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Student Gradebook Issues With 'Ignore Lowest Scores' in Assignment Group

Question asked by Kimberly Smith on Sep 8, 2017
Latest reply on Mar 28, 2018 by

I would like to add an issue associated with the Assignment Group rule "Number of scores to ignore for each student" (which is actually "automatically drop lowest X scores). Right now, I am just preventing totals from displaying to students in the Gradebook, which is problematic - as is the 'dropping' (graying out) of scores that will ultimately be kept/counted at the end of the semester. Any suggestions on how best to manage this in the current system would be appreciated. Thank you!


Here is my situation: I allow students to drop their lowest score from several of my assignment groups (1/14 lowest quiz score, 2/5 lowest critical thinking tasks, 1/5 lowest exam score, 1/3 video quiz scores). So, if students do well on the X number required assignments in each group they can, potentially, skip the remaining one(s) in that group. Alternatively, students can choose do all of the assignments in each group and then keep their highest X required scores in each group. I find that this not only encourages students be focused early in the semester (do well 'up-front' may = less work later), but also offers flexibility in terms of their balancing school and 'life' responsibilities. Students are allowed to miss one assignment deadline from each assignment group for any reason (sick, car trouble, have to attend a wedding, internet went down, dog ate my homework) and use that as the assignment that gets dropped from that group. It also eliminates the need for creating make-up assignments. Unfortunately, this also wreaks havoc with students' (and sometimes my) ability to understand their current course grade across the semester.


Presently, in my case, as students' grades are posted across the semester, the system automatically "drops" their lowest X scores for each group (based on rules set for each assignment group) ans 'grays out' those scores in the students' Gradebook. A case in point... I have a student who has already completed the required 3/5 critical thinking tasks this semester (90/90, 85/90, 90/90). However, two of these are grayed out in her Gradebook because the lowest 2/5 of these are 'ignored' – so only 1/5 is counted toward her course grade. This Gradebook issue does not resolve itself until the deadlines for ALL of the assignments in that Assignment Group have passed (near the end of the semester) – even though she is likely to skip the two remaining assignments in that group, and use those two zeros as her “dropped' scores. I realize, of course, that I could just set the Assignment Group rules at the end of the semester. But, as others have alluded to, students will think they are fine - until suddenly points (lowest scores) disappear from their Gradebook at the end of the semester.


A solution presented to me by Canvas tech at my college was to 'Set Default Grade' to zero for all assignments. This would effectively resolve this issue in the mathematical sense. However, to do so now (after the start of the semester) would 1) change all 'submitted but still ungraded' assignments to zero, and 2) likely freak most students out.


Ideally, there would be some way that the 'not yet due' scores were grayed out until the submission deadlines pass in each group. Would an IF-THEN kind of thing, integrated into Assignment Group rule option, work? Something like...
IF "assignment is not locked" (in an Assignment Group) THEN "treat ungraded as zero"? 
This way (I think), all assignments would start out as zero (and grayed out) in the Gradebook and, early in the semester, the X number of “to be ignored” scores would (of course) be the scores grayed out in the Gradebook. However, as the semester progresses, and students’ assignments are graded, higher (non-zero) scores replace them and are included in course grade totals - while the “to be ignored” scores (I think) have no influence on overall course grades until their respective deadlines pass? Refering to the example case from above, that student's 3/5 scores would be counted in her total and the two up-coming (likely to be dropped) assignments have no influence. In that same example, if that student decided to complete a 4thcritical thinking task, and that 4th score was higher than one of the three previous scores in that group, the 4th (higher) score would replace the lowest of the first three in that group. Sadly, of course, this would not a perfect solution either - since students may interpret 'grayed out' as = 'not open to submit' or 'dealine has passed'. Has anyone solved this puzzle yet?#

Thank you in advance for your help!