Does anyone have any general thoughts on the proposed changes?
In particular, I'm considering replacing the word "Marks" with the word "Points" everywhere that it appears in the gradebook. In the MDL it is suggested to only do this for en_us but I wonder whether I should just do it for en.
First, please say the same thing in your forum post as it says in the bug:
As defined by the Gradebook working group:
- "Aggregate Only Non-Empty Grades" → "Exclude empty grades"
- "Categories & Items" → "Setup"
- "Marks/Marking" → "Grades/Grading" (whenever referring to gradebook stuff)
- "Marks → Points" (for quiz)
- "Update” on grader report → "Save changes”
- "Natural weighting"
Most of these seems good. Apart from:
I'm not sure "Exclude empty grades" is really clearer that the previous.
Note that, in the quiz, Marks and Grades are two different things (in the case where, for example, the sum of the marks for each question is 20, but the final grade is given as a grade out of 100). Please do not change the word Marks in the Quiz in the English lang pack. Marks is idiomatic in the English education system. I don't recall the use of the word points at either school or university, other than as a joke. Others are better placed to comment on what is appropriate for en_us.
It would increase the consistency to use 'grades' everywhere in the gradebook.
By the way, please can someone respond to my post in the gradebook forum, where I ask what on earth the new term 'Natural weights' is supposed to mean.
absolutely no surprises then that I send a ditto-for what Tim has posted (am in UK too).
Can I ask, if I may....why? Why is there an identified need for these changes? That remains unclear.
Can I also ask, please what is meant by weighting? and Natural weighting? I have my own ideas of course-from marking a shedload of scripts over the last decade.....but I don't think these concepts mean the same thing for everyone, not least the student!
Since I could not decipher the application of the Moodle terminology for grading, I avoid all of them. My grading is now based on issuing points. Each project gets a max points posted with the assignment. I issue points according to the quality of the work.
When I want to grade the students, I look at the sum of points and run a curve to generate a letter grade. I would like to see the addition of terminology that supports the Point Value system.
While we are at it, can we change the e-mail notification that says that a student "has submitted their assignment" to "has submitted an assignment"? There is not a term that goes by that at least one student does not question this.
For some context, I went through every language string in en_us containing 'mark' this past winter when we launched our 2.6 instance. Over 250 items came up, though only about 70 were relevant; the rest were mostly related to bookmarks. I'm also a Graduate Student in Linguistics.
The terms mark, grade, and point have similar yet slightly different meanings, though their usage in Moodle is often unintuitive. The first two can be both noun and verb in Moodle (I don't think the verb 'to point' pertains to this situation).
Looking at the nouns, a point [in this case] is a numeric value, a grade is the assignment of a relative level (typically a scale such as A-F), and a mark is, well, a mark (as in a [red] mark showing the points earned or taken off to determine a student's grade).
A course can have 1000 points, but a course can't have a grade. A student can earn 950 of those points and their grade would [likely] be an A.
In the US, grading is often called the bane of a graduate student's existence; most Teaching Assistants would be called a grader, but hate grading. It isn't natural to call them a marker, nor the act marking.
Grading can be automatic, like in the case of a multiple choice quiz. In this case, each question has a point value which is automatically assigned. In the case of manual assigning a grade, grading entails marking. However, marking does not necessarily entail grading: I can mark a draft of a paper, but not assign a grade.
A US student would not say "how many marks did you get on question #1” nor "what were your marks for that quiz?”. They would say "how many points did you get on question #1” and what was your grade (or score) for that quiz?”
I might mark an assignment as complete (as in check a box), but that does not entail that it has been (or ever will be) graded.
My two cents.
OK. Let me attempt to tackle this in a different way Mark-and maybe you can point to where the 'points-system' would work
Let us consider ummmmmm....an education system in the UK. We could choose any one that exists within the super-system of Ed....secondary schooling (GCSE) Further Education (A level) and so on. I will choose Higher Education to present a generic vignette here (highlighting the language of %s/marks/grades).
Now then, say I have a degree course (undergraduate), and to get the award of degree, the students need to gain 120 credits each year over three years, so 360 credits. Each 120 credits is made up of 3 modules worth 40 credits each (am keeping it neat, as an example). The type of award they get is based on their aggregate score. So,
student A: Hi fellow student what did you get for your assignment in the Philosophy of Education module?
student B: oh you know, I got 60% which means I pass with that mark, and I got a B grade
student A: ahhhh I see, so how is this year looking for you?
Student B: I need to pass my remaining module so that I don't fail the year because my other marks were quite low.
student A: do you have a plan?
student B: yes, I am going to make up some good headway with the essay in the Psychology of Education module because that is weighted at 70% and the presentation is weighted at 30%...not so good at talking in front of groups-but I am a keen linguist and there is an essay question on that and I know all about Chomsky's theories and the inbuilt LAD device
over to you Mark...
This is absolutely the case of The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language. English teachers and students would talk about marks and marking. My mother was a teacher for many years, and had a markbook.
The word grading is comprehensible to UK folks in this context, I would judge. The increasing penetraition of Turn-It-In into the UK, with its gradebook, is probably accellerating that.
The word points here is hard not to take as a joke, thanks to I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.
So, feel free to do what is best for US students in the US lang pack, but if you had a discussion on terminology is about the furthest corner of the USA from the UK, then you can hardly be suprised if the needs of the UK were overlooked. (Is there a list of attendees at the Gradebook meeting? What steps were taken to overcome the obvious bias?)
I'm not advocating for changing something in en that doesn't make sense. I think that's why Andrew started the discussion. I'm simply justifying the position from the US perspective. A big part of the request is for consistency in the moodle.org documentation.
oh please can I be naughty here-just once -Helen ;)
And this is what you can win on that show!
'Prizes include such luxury items as a reptile that wakes you up in the morning (an alarm croc) or lawn seed to help make your garden look bigger (magnifying grass)'.
chuckle-and a wee note: hope we can move forward with this, so that gradebook is fit for purpose on all fronts. To be honest Martin has done well to make this a priority-so credit due there.
I'll comment only from the US perspective.
Everything in the en pack looks good to me. I think "Exclude Empty Grades" sounds just fine. I can't think of anything better.
Switching marks for points in quiz would bring things much more in line with typical US lingo. Now, you need to be careful along the lines of Tim's point about the difference between Marks and Grades. In particular, what are you planning to do with the "marked out of" line in the quiz?
I'm with Tim on "natural weighting." That phrase doesn't mean anything to me. I'm assuming that you mean that relative weights that don't add up to 100% are allowed and function properly (ie. Quizzes are worth twice as much as Assignments). If that's what you're going for then just using "weights" is fine here. I'd never heard the term "natural weighting" until it came up in Moodle world.
I'll address "Natural Weighting" in this post:
The simplest form of a gradebook is where the all the points in a course are added up, and every individual item's "natural weight" is the the item total divided by the total points. This is based on the Sum of Grades aggregation method, fixed to honor settings for exclusion of hidden items , Exclude Empty Grades, and Extra Credit. In a perfect scenario, a course would add up to 100 (or perhaps 1000) points, but in my experience, this is rare.
A simple example: Two items, each worth 100 points; each item's natural weighting is 50%. Add a third item worth 100 points, and the natural weighting of each item is 33.3%.
Now, if I say that those original two items were actually "weighted" differently, where the second one is a final and thus, say, 75% of the final grade, then a single point on Item Two is worth 3 times as much as a single point on Item One; adding up points no longer tells a student how their grade was calculated. We mark these weights as adjusted, and have proposed a weight column and a "contribution" column to presents the math to both the instructor and the student.
Yes-extra column sounds apt. So, say I have an essay weighted at 50% of the total mark/grade for an assignment; I have 25% weighting for the presentation, and 25% weighting for group wiki....I will still mark each out of 100 and then tally up. Therefore....being able to show and share those calculations (in that column)-have no problem with that-nice feature.
- Total Points - Add up all the points and divide by the number possible points. Assignments frequently have different point values. This seems straightforward in the new system.
- Category Weights - Grades are grouped into categories and the categories are weighted (10% Quizzes, 20% Homework, 30% Papers, 40% Tests). All grades in this scheme are generally out of 100. Calculations are done as the average of all grades in the category to get a category average, followed by a weighted average using the category averages to get the final grade.
There are some schemes which combine those two also. We can ignore those for the moment if you like.
What would the category weights look like?
Is there a mockup of this yet?
You can take a look at our specifications doc, which is for the prototype we've built. We intend to merge this with the official spec once we've gotten the bugs fixed. It's a working document, so I wouldn't call it polished.
I shall now have a cup of char while sitting on the verandah of my bungalow wearing pajamas over my jodhpurs.
I shall have a cup of joe sitting on the porch of my rancher, wearing pj's over my chaps!
Why yes, I am bilingual! And I do realize/realise that joe is actually coffee and not tea and chaps and jodhpurs are different but both related to horse!
As a bilingual American/English person(!) I have the following input.
Yes, get rid of the word Marks in the US language pack - it is not used and teachers simply don't quickly realize what it means. Points is much more intuitive over here.
I would take the input from the English here as to leaving it alone for the English language pack.
Natural Weighting??? I agree...what does that mean anyway? Can we not have Total Points and Weighted Category Grading for US - as pointed out, those are the most common.
I like Exclude Empty Grades - it is simpler and does not include an unnecessary negative. Let's keep anything out that involves a teacher having to think about something other than their students!
Set Up for Categories and Items works....I guess though I would still like to see some reference to Categories so that teachers know at a glance where to go...
My two cents...or pennies...or whatever!
I've been on holiday this last week (that's vacation to US folks ) and so have missed this discussion, but pretty much what I would have said has already been said by Tim mainly, so I've nothing new to add. I would however reiterate the "points" use in the UK. To me that term would only be used in a competitive context, rather than actual marks - er -grades. A few years ago I had a really challenging class of 14 year olds, low ability, learning French unwillingly, and I got some success out of turning all our vocab tests into "memory quizzes" and instead of giving them "marks" (grades) I gave them "points". They never caught on!
A quick update. The marks -> points change has been made in the en_us language pack so it won't affect anyone else.
Most of the rest of the proposed changes have been made in https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-46175 although it is still working its way through HQs review and testing process.