I hardly ever use the Gradebook so please bear with me if this question has already been asked and answered in the Gradebook forum.
How comes the Course total is not automatically re-calculated to reflect the sum of the Max Grade column?
In a course empty of graded activities, the Course total default-starts at 100.
This total remains at 100 regardless of any graded activities that are added to the course. For instance, if I add to my course 2 quizzes with max grade 20 each and a lesson with max grade 20, the course total remains at 100. This makes the total course score for a student totally incomprehensible (see attached screenshot). And the total of the Range column is wrong as well! Of course, I can always manually change the Course total, but I am finding this an irritating feature.
I naïvely thought that, each time I add a graded activity to my course, the course total would be automatically recalculated to reflect a more "logical" sum.
I'm sure there is a rational explanation behind this, but I am hardly inclined to accept it.
Could you attach a screenshot of your Categories and Items so I can see which aggregations you got set. Without seeing your screenshot though, I think I can answer your question.
The Sum of Grades aggregation always just takes the max grades and adds them up to get the course total. It's the simplest aggregation and has always worked for me.
If you are using Simple Weighted or Weighted though, it will put a 100 if you had the aggregation set before adding any grade items. If you had grade items in the category and it was previously Sum of Grades and you switched it to Simple Weighted or Weighted, it will take whatever the total was before switching it and set that as the category total. This category total doesn't update as you have shown. Instead what it does is scale to that category total.
So to use your example, the total of the max scores is 60. The student received 35 of those points. It then divides them to get a percentage. (35/60= 58.33%) Since the category total was set to 100, it can simply take that as it already was a percentage. But say your category total was 115. It would take the 58.33% and scale to the 115. (115*58.33%=67.01) So in the category total it would show 67.01 points earned out of 115.
Now that the math is out of the way, I'll explain why (at least why I think it is done that way). Say your course consisted of:
- Assignment 1 - 100 points
- Assignment 2 - 100 points
- Assignment 3 - 100 points
- Assignment 4 - 100 points
- Assignment 5 - 100 points
- Assignment 6 - 100 points
The instructor wants to grade all assignments out of 100 but assignments 2 & 3 combine together and the instructor wants those to only count as 100 together; so the course total should be 500. If you set the course total aggregation to Sum of Grades, create a new category and place assignment 2 & 3 in it and set the aggregation of that category to Simple Weighted. In that category, set the total to 100. The course total will then show as 500 because for assignments 1, 4, 5 & 6 it gets 400 points and from the category of assignments 2 & 3 it only gets 100 points.
Then how it calculates is that points earned for assignments 1, 4, 5 & 6 just add to the total. The category (assignments 2 & 3) will then total and then scale down to 100. So if a student earned 180 points total on assignments 2 & 3, the category total would show 90 out of 100 and that 90 would then go towards the course total.
Categories and Items
Hi Marty and thanks for taking the trouble to give this detailed answer!
In my example, I have no categories set and I do not use "aggregations" (since I do not understand them anyway).
I understand your explanations, but I maintain that, from the end-user (i.e. the student)'s point of view, it still does not make sense to display a column of numbers followed by a so-called "total" line which does not reflect the total of the values entered in the column above. In your example, I maintain that it does not make sense to the end-user to display this data in the Project category:
For me, 90 is not the total of 80 + 100, it is the average.
Am I the only one to find this strange?
I actually agree with you...sort of. Using the example I gave, what if the teacher needed the course total to function like that but for that category of two assignments, they had it equal the actual total max grade for the assignments. Then you would have to do two things.
- Switch overall aggregation to Weighted
- Do the math and figure out how much the point total of each assignment is worth towards the course total. This is a flawed method though because if you decide to add another grade item, you would have to re-calculate and enter all the weights.
Or you would have to enter a manual calculation into the course total; which again is not good because you would have to change formula if you add or remove items.
I'll throw out another example. Say you have 4 assignments. Each graded out of 100 but they are not weighted the same. Assignment 1 = 10%, Assignment 2 = 20%, Assignment 3 = 20% and Assignment 4 = 50% of course total. If you had it how you describe of having the course total equally the total points of the assignment, you would get something like this:
Categories and Items
If you do the math with the weights, you get the percentage of 91% and 91% of 400 is 364. If a student were to add up what they got on the assignments they would get 360.
But say instead you have the course total set to 100, when it does the math with the weights, it then scales down to 100. By scaling to 100, it then looks like a percentage.
Categories and Items
I think the second method is much better. You could simply have the course total display as a letter/percentage and that would be even better. It wouldn't show the 91 (Real) score.
How about this as a fix; just change the category or course total name. Change from Category Total to Category Average. That way from the end-user point of view, there should be no confusion on what it is
I think when it really comes down to though, the problem is that everyone does their gradebook differently. There is no way to code one method/aggegregation/formula to make it work for everyone without issue. This system allows flexibility to meet everyone's needs though. They just have to make sure they understand how to set it up correctly.
P.S. You mention you don't like aggregations because you don't understand them, if that's the case and you have an instructor at your university who needs help. Feel free to send me a personal email and I can take a look.
I feel compelled to show another example to demostrate why it couldn't be added to core.
This couldn't be added to core because the grade items may not always be as nice as the ones I used in previous examples. Say this was the scenario, two assignments in one category:
- Assignment 1 - 23 points
- Assignment 2 - 14 points
and the teacher wants the category to be worth 117 points towards the course total. You could get something that looks like this for a user report:
Yes I know I am using random numbers that no intelligent teacher would use but it just goes to show that it technically isn't the average of the grade items that ends up in the category total but the average of the grade items SCALED to whatever is entered as the category total max grade.
I would like to know how you can change the name of the category "Course Total" in the gradebook. It seems the name is predefined and I am not being able to edit it.
Thanks a lot!