I use letter grades only in Bb. (Since the point values are irrelevant, I enter a value of 1 for every assignment.) Each letter grade corresponds to a percentage in my letter schema. I'm trying to figure out how to add extra credit to quiz scores in my class if I don't use points. In my category 'reading quizzes', there are about 30 three-question quizzes, the lowest 6 of which are dropped. When I enter a quiz grade, 3/3 = A, 2/3 = B-, 1/3 = D+, 0/3 = F. I enter only the letter grade into Bb, not the points. I've started adding bonus questions to some of the quizzes: each bonus is worth one point. Now, my issue is, how do I fairly record the score of someone who gets 4/3 on the quiz if my schema cannot exceed 100%? A person who receives 2/3 on the regular questions and also gets the bonus (so, 3/3), has just been bumped from a B- to an A. However, a person who receives 3/3 on the regular questions and also gets the bonus (so, 4/3), has been bumped from only an A to an A+. This wouldn't be a problem if I could set the A+ to something higher than 100%. Can I fix this? If I set only the reading quizzes, and no other assignments, to points schema, how will it factor the points into other categories that are all letter grades?
There is no way you can set a grade to anything higher than 100%. Since you "enter only the letter grade into Bb" you could just enter an A for someone who gets 4/3 on a quiz.
Right, but if I enter an A for 4/3, then that student really isn't getting the benefit of any extra credit; they get the same letter grade as someone who received 3/3. What would happen if I set only the reading quizzes, and no other assignments, to
points schema? How will the Grade Book factor the points into other categories that
are all letter grades? Does it convert the quiz scores into a total percentage that it then factors into the grades for other categories?
The problem is that all the underlying grades are saved and calculations are done as scores and percentages, not as letter grades. The other problem, as you've seen, is that there's no way to set the letter grade schema to handle anything greater than 100%.
My suggestion is that you start out initially using score as the primary display, and entering all the individual assignment grades as scores, including those who get 4 (out of 3). You can set letter grade as the secondary display if you'd like to confirm the way it's being converted by Blackboard as you go along. Then, when you're ready to show it to students, switch the primary and secondary displays to letter and score, since the primary display is the only one students see.
This ensures that the grades are actually being calculated the way you want. Unfortunately, there's no real way to display letter grades for those who get greater than 100%.
Thanks, Mike. My schema is set up with a conversion of letter grades to percentages, even though I don't use scores. But let's say I do what you suggest and enter the quiz scores (and only quiz scores) as scores instead of letter grades, and let's say that a student's total percentage for all quizzes is 102% (they got some bonus questions). Now, let's say that on papers, a different category, this same student has an 80%. How does the 102% get factored into the 80%? For factoring purposes, does Bb consider the 102% as only a 100%, meaning that the student doesn't really get the benefit of having over 100% in one category?
I'm not sure what you mean by "how does 102% get factored into 80%?". They don't get "factored into" each other, and for the most part calculations are done on the basis of points awarded / points possible.
Are you trying to calculate a total, or a weighted total, or something like that? If so, how do you have your total or your weighted total column set up?
I am trying to calculate a weighted total. I enter letter grades, which correspond to certain percentages in my schema. It's my understanding that even if you enter in points in a column (which I don't), the points are converted to percentages, and then percentages are used when calculating the weighted total. The same happens with letter grades: they're converted to percentages, and the percentages are used to calculate the weighted total. I have my weighted total column set up with different categories, each category weighted differently depending on the assignment (e.g., exams 40%; quizzes 15%, etc.). My question is then, if one category is, say, 102%, what happens to the 2% surplus when Bb goes to calculate the weighted total? Does the Bb level the 102% to 100% before it calculates the weighted total along with percentages in other categories, or does it count 102% as 102% for purposes of calculation?
I understand. Yes, with weighted totals they are converted to percentages as part of the calculation of weighted totals (though they are stored as points for the individual items...). No, the 102% isn't reduced to 100%--the limitation is purely in the grade schema mapping to letter grades.
Okay, that makes sense. So if I enter individual grades as letters, and not as points, there is no way the percentage can be over 100%, even for purposes of calculating the weighted total?
That's right. "Letter grade" (and any grade schema) is just a display mapping from a percentage range to a particular letter, and the schema doesn't cover ranges above 100%.
I think I will follow your suggestion and enter the quiz grades as points. I want to be sure, though, that his will not mess with the calculation of the weighted total. Am I correct in assuming that it's no problem to have only one of my categories entered as points, and the rest as letter grades?
Even if you're entering them as letter grades, they are actually stored within Blackboard as points/percentages--you can set up a "Score" secondary display fore those columns to confirm what points are being stored for those letter grades. So, it's not a problem to use both letter and score primary displays for different columns that are being included in the weighted total.
I'm frustrated with the fact that 100% is the top possible value for grading schemas. Can that be improved in a future service pack? We use extra credit quite a bit at the secondary level, and this limitation is not allowing students to see that wonderful A+ letter grade if they have higher than 100% in a column used for calculations. All they can see is their score.
The 100% limitation on grade schemas has been a problem for a very long time. I suggest submitting an enhancement request via the form at http://suggestions.blackboard.com.
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