How can I set up a grade item that calculates all grades earned in 1 week, but has a maximum value?

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Jennifer.G.802
Jennifer.G.802 Posts: 4 🔍
edited August 2023 in Higher Ed / Postsecondary
Some background: My class is based on a 1000 pt scale. I've made it so they can come to class OR do work at home (if they're sick/need a day off, etc., without emailing me and asking what to do). The way I have set it up, each week I offer students up to (for example) 75 points, but the week has a MAXIMUM number of points that can be earned say in this example, 45 points. Students can’t just do every single assignment each week and make over the maximum. Some assignments are required, others are optional.

For instance, in week 1, every student MUST take the syllabus quiz for 20 points. Additionally, they can EITHER come to class one or two times OR do an introductory discussion board OR complete the chapter 1 activity and quiz for the remaining 25 points. If a student takes the syllabus quiz and earns 20 points, and comes to class twice (10 points), and then does Chapter 1 quiz and earns 15 points, they are done for the week. They've hit the max. Even if they do the Chapter 1 activity and earn 15 points on it, they most they can make is still 45 points. (Note, they don't HAVE to hit the max - it's up to them).

Now, they can't skip the required assignment but do enough other assignments to make up the difference. So they couldn't do Intro discussion (10 pts), Ch. 1 Quiz (15 pts), Ch. 1 Activity (15 pts), and come to class Tuesday (5 pts). Even though they earned 45 points that week, they didn't take the syllabus quiz, so the most they can earn is 25 points. (Since the syllabus quiz is worth 20).

What IS allowed is the following instance: Let’s say a student only makes 15 points out of 20 on the syllabus quiz, and they come to class twice for the full time and did the Chapter 1 quiz (15 pts). That means the student only earned 40 points for the week. The student can choose to submit the Chapter 1 activity or even do the introductory discussion board, but those assignments would be graded for a maximum of 5 points – again – the total for the week cannot exceed 45 points.

OKAY - so...how do I set up an item in the grade book that captures all of this? I'm assuming it's a formula column but I can't figure it out!! What would the formula look like? I have all of these assignments entered into the gradebook (and I have them each set to "does not contribute to final grade"), I just can't figure out how to calculate them so that the sum total of all the Week 1 assignments goes into a column that doesn't exceed 45 points.
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  • Ted.H.903
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    Hi Jennifer,

    That sounds like quite a thorough setup! For something like this, it may be best to build the gradebook out using the weighted system as that one will allow you to specify a value for the category, whereas the points system does not and only uses the sum of the items within it.

    When creating a gradebook in the weights system, you can specify the weight for the category as an individual value. For example, an assignments category that is explicitly worth 20% of the final grade, regardless of the number and scale of items that are contained within. Any items that are added will contribute to that but ultimately cap out at contributing 20% to the final grade. So what you can do is set the optional items as bonus items and have the mandatory items set as normal, so as long as the category isn't set up to exceed the maximum value as assigned, optional items will only contribute to student running totals up to the maximum as assigned to the category.

    Now, you can manually enter the point values (which will be as previously entered if you just convert from the points system to the weights system) to be as designed for your 1000pt scale. That being said, the weight values for the items will still need to be specified, which will require some conversions from your current system to being ratios of the final grade. So if week 1 is worth 75 points, its weight value as a category would be 75 divided by the final grade point total, multiplied by 100 to come out as a percentage value. This would likewise need to be done within each category for the items themselves. If a quiz within a given 75pt week is worth 20pts, its weight would need to be specified as 20 / 75 * 100. Setting it up in this way should provide the grade book framework as desired.

    The other option would be to use formula items and the formula grade system (required for using formula items that contribute to the final grade, as they otherwise are not counted at all in points and weights systems). This method can get much more technical depending on the complexity of the formula being used for individual items and the final grade, and I tend not to recommend it where other options are possible…

    If you don't have the option within the gradebook settings menu to change the gradebook system or are required by institutional mandate to use the points system and only the points system, I'd be happy to try and workshop an alternative solution, but the pivot to the weighted system really would be my recommendation for the most effective solution to getting your desired framework.

    Hope this helps!

    Ted H.

  • Jennifer.G.802
    Jennifer.G.802 Posts: 4 🔍
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    Ted, I tried what you suggested but I got a little confused. If I set the gradebook up as weighted and the optional assignments as bonus, wouldn't it look like they got a 100% of the points for the week if they did only the required assignments?

    I tried something different, but I'm hitting a wall. Okay, I set up Items for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc and associated point values. They total 1000 points. From there, I'm trying to make the final calculated grade a FORMULA where I only add the sum total of THOSE items (the week 1, 2, 3 grades). I'll have to manually enter the weekly totals into week 1, but then it should show up in the calculated final grade as the correct amount of points they earned for that week, where I manually cap it. So if Student A only did 50/55 points for week 1, their calculated grade appears as 50 points. If Student B did 85/55 points for the week, their calculated grade would appear as 55 points because I will have manually entered into week 1 item 50 and 55 points respectively.

    Now, the problem I'm hitting is trying to get this formula to work. In the formula editor, I started with this:

    = SUM { [Week 1 Grades.Points Received] AND [Week 2 Grades.Points Received] AND [Week 3 Grades.Points Received] }

    (I just started with the first 3 weeks as a test because it's onerous to do all 16 weeks if it's not going to work anyway.)

    But when I hit enter, I get a message that says

    Boolean value expected

    Correct this error and retry validation.

    I don't know what that means or how to fix it. Any i

  • Jennifer.G.802
    Jennifer.G.802 Posts: 4 🔍
    Options

    Ted, I tried what you suggested but I got a little confused. If I set the gradebook up as weighted and the optional assignments as bonus, wouldn't it look like they got a 100% of the points for the week if they did only the required assignments?

    I tried something different, but I'm hitting a wall. Okay, I set up Items for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc and associated point values. They total 1000 points. From there, I'm trying to make the final calculated grade a FORMULA where I only add the sum total of THOSE items (the week 1, 2, 3 grades). I'll have to manually enter the weekly totals into week 1, but then it should show up in the calculated final grade as the correct amount of points they earned for that week, where I manually cap it. So if Student A only did 50/55 points for week 1, their calculated grade appears as 50 points. If Student B did 85/55 points for the week, their calculated grade would appear as 55 points because I will have manually entered into week 1 item 50 and 55 points respectively.

    Now, the problem I'm hitting is trying to get this formula to work. In the formula editor, I started with this:

    = SUM { [Week 1 Grades.Points Received] AND [Week 2 Grades.Points Received] AND [Week 3 Grades.Points Received] }

    (I just started with the first 3 weeks as a test because it's onerous to do all 16 weeks if it's not going to work anyway.)

    But when I hit enter, I get a message that says

    Boolean value expected

    Correct this error and retry validation.

    I don't know what that means or how to fix it. Any ideas?

  • Jennifer.W.973
    Jennifer.W.973 Posts: 242 🌟
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    @Jennifer.G.802 Try replacing the ANDs in your formula with commas.