Weighting Grades

Grade breakdowns for syllabi generally indicate how graded material (exams, homework, projects, etc...) will contribute to a student's overall grade. These breakdowns are generally given as a percentage of the total grade or a certain number of points. This article will help you to setup the PolyLearn gradebook to achieve the grade breakdown as specified by your syllabus.

Weighting by Categories


 

 

 

 

Instructors can use the PolyLearn gradebook to weight grades by categories. Using the Simple weighted mean option allows an instructor to assign the percentage that each category contributes to the overall final grade.

The categories (whose totals are Categrory totals) will need to be set to theSimple weighted mean of grades Aggregation, while the overall course category (whose total is the Course total) will need to be set to Sum of grades. The Course total will need to be 100, which is really 100%. To ensure that this value is 100, the Category totals must sum to 100. If the Course total does not add up to 100, then one or more of the Category totals is too high or too low.
Note: Unlike Blackboard, the gradebook will NOT warn you if the Course total is greater than or less than 100, so you’ll need to verify this yourself.

Adding Categories

To begin, you’ll need to create grade categories in the Categories and items tab of the gradebook.

From the gradebook spreadsheet (Grader report):

  1. Click on the Categories and items tab in the top navigation bar. Verify that you are in the "Simple view" of the Categories and items page.
    screen image of the categories and items tab and simple view highlighted
  2. Scroll down and click on the Add category button.
    screen image of the add category button
  3. Enter a name for the category, and select Natural from the Aggregation pull-down menu.
    screen image of the name text box and agreggation pull-down menu
  4. Verify that the Grade type is set to Value.
  5. Verify that the Parent category is set to the overall course category, which should be displayed as the course ID (for example: BIO-408-15-2118).

  6. Click Save changes to create the category.
    screen image of the parent category and save changed button

    Once you have saved the changes you can set the weight in the Gradebook setup Tab by checking the category box under the weight column and set the percentage of your course total you would like that category to represent.

 


Assigning

Items to Categories

If you have pre-existing grade items, you can assign them to the category/categories you just created.

From the Categories and items page:

  1. Place a checkmark in the Select column across from the grade item you want to assign to a category.
    screen image of the select column
  2. Scroll down and select the appropriate category from the Move selected items to pull-down menu.
    screen image of the move selected items to pull-down menu
  3. The grade item will now appear under the category you chose.


Course Category Aggregation (Course Total)

Now that we have the categories created and all of the grade items assigned to a category, we need to make sure that the weighting percentages all add up to 100 percent

To do this, you’ll need to set the overall course category to Sum of grades. This will sum all of the Category totals (which are really the weight percentages) and should add up to 100 (or, 100%).

To set the overall course category to Sum of grades:

  1. On the Categories and items tab, locate the overall course category (it should be the course ID of your course).
  2. Across from the course category, select Simple weighted mean of grades from the Aggregation pull-down menu.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and verify that the Course total for the course category is 100. If not, change it to 100.


    Note: If the Course total does not add up to 100, then one or more of the Category totals is too high or too low. Note that unlike Blackboard, the gradebook will NOT warn you if the Course total is greater than or less than 100, so you’ll need to verify this yourself.
  4. Should you need to change a category's weight percentage, simply type a new value into that category's Category total box.


  5. Press the Enter/Return button on your keyboard or click Save changes at the bottom of the page to save the new Category total.
  6. Your gradebook is now setup for weighting. See the checklist below to verify that it is setup correctly.

Weighting Setup Checklist

At this point, your gradebook is set up for weighting, and you should verify that:

  1. The weight column total is 100.
    screen image of the course total
  2. The overall course category's Aggregation is set to Natural.
  3. All of the other categories are also set to Natural.
  4. You've clicked Save changes at the bottom of the page. Clicking Save changes implements these changes in the gradebook spreadsheet. If you do not click Save changes, all your changes to the Categories and items page will be lost and unapplied to the spreadsheet.
    screen image of the save changes button

How the gradebook Calculates Category and Course Totals

Below is a quick overview of how the gradebook calculates Category and Course totals.

  1. The points earned for each grade item in a particular category are summed and then divided by the total points possible for all the grade items in the category.
    screen image of the points earned and divided by points possible

  2. This decimal value is then multiplied by the Category total, which is the category’s weight percentage of the overall course grade.
    screen image of the decimal value multiplied by the category total

  3. The resulting value, the student’s earned weight percentage (i.e., the earned Category total), for each category is summed into the student’s Course total.
    screen image of the earned category total
    screen image of the earned course total

  4. Though the Course total doesn’t display a percentage sign (%) in the spreadsheet or on the Categories and items page, this value is a percent.