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Common errors calculating grades

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Here are some of the common errors made when releasing grades through Isaak/Sakai's Gradebook tool. This collection is based on the experience of Brock University instructors with the Isaak/Sakai Gradebook.

If you are Brock University instructor who is worried that you may have to correct one of these errors please feel free to contact the CPI.


[edit] Common errors

[edit] Not entering a grade

If a student has earned a zero on an item in the Gradebook an instructor must enter that zero. If the item is left blank, or null, then that item will not be weighted against that student when the final grade is calculated.

This effects grades NOT entered in Gradebook itself, Tests and Quizzes, Assignments and others.

This is an easy mistake to make at the end of a course when a student is transitioning from a potential late mark to having no submission. Tools like the Assignments tool allow instructors to assign a mark to all students who do not already have a mark in one action. The Tests and Quizzes tool does not allow for assigning a grade to student who do not already have a mark. Un-submitted quizzes will not be weighted against students as a zero until the instructor clicks Set Ungraded Items to Zero at the bottom of the Course Grades section of the Gradebook.

[edit] Not Including Items in Course Grade

If a Gradebook Item is not selected to be included in the course grade calculations, your final letter grade will be incorrect. To avoid this, ensure every item that you want to appear in the final course grade is designated properly.

When setting up a new Gradebook Item or editing an existing Gradebook Item, ensure the Include this item in course grade calculations checkbox is checked (as seen in Figure 1 below) and then select Save Changes before you leave that screen.

Figure 1:  Include in course grade calculations checkbox

Figure 1

Review the Gradebook Items Summary list (found on the Gradebook Items screen) before you send your grades to eGrade to ensure all necessary items are designated to be included in the final grade. A quick check can be made under the Included in Course Grade column as illustrated below.

Note: Test 1 (as seen in Figure 1) has been excluded in the in the Included in Course Grade column (Figure 2) and will provide erroneous results if Test 1 was supposed to be a part of the final grade.

Figure 2: Included in Course Grade column

Figure 2

[edit] Gradebook Does Not Know How Your Marks Are Weighted

The Isaak/Sakai Gradebook does not know how your marks are weighted until you indicate the weighting under Gradebook Settings and then assign items to weighted categories in Gradebook items.

Here is how to create Gradebook categories and weighting:

  1. In your site's menubar, click Gradebook.
  2. Near the top, click Gradebook Setup.
  3. Under "Categories & Weighting", choose Categories & Weighting.
  4. In the text box that appears, type a name for the category you're adding. Note: To create more than one category, click Add a Category.
  5. Next to each category name, under "%", enter a number representing that category's percentage of the final grade. Note: The total percentage must equal 100. Before you can save your changes, the "Running Total" must equal 100.0%, and the "Needed Total" must equal 0.0%.
  6. When you are finished, click Save Changes.
  7. After you create a category, you must assign Gradebook items to it. You can assign an item when you create it or by editing an existing item; see Creating/adding, editing, or deleting a Gradebook item for more information.

[edit] Not releasing grades

Instructors have the options to release a Gradebook item or not. Students cannot see their grade until the items has been released.

  1. Make sure that under Gradebook Setup > Display released Gradebook Items to students is checked
  2. Under Gradebook Items make sure that beside each item that there is a "Y" in the "Released to Students" column
    • If not select the Edit option beside the respective item and check-off Release this item to Students
  3. Confirm what students see
    Accessing Gradebook's student view
    Accessing Gradebook's student view
    • Instructors can verify what each student's view of the Gradebook under All Grades clicking a student's name, then clicking on the right THE STUDENT's View of Grades.

[edit] Switching from percent to points mid-way through a course

If you switch the Gradebook from points to percents or from percents to points under Gradebook Setup area under Grade Entry. The grades for each student should convert without issue. However if someone has mistakenly entered grades assuming the Gradebook was configured to use points and it was really percents, or percents and it was really points then technically the grades were always wrong and the conversion is going to emphasize this problem.

This can be remedied by reversing the math in a tool like Excel.

[edit] Unequal denominators in the same category create unbalanced categories and incorrect calculations

A Gradebook with Categories and Weighting turned on will apply the weights an instructor selects correctly. However, within a weighted category Gradebook items are weighted by their denominator. This is not an issue when all of the denominators are that same, for example a category of quizzes where everything is marked out of 10. However if ten items are marked out of 10 and an 11th is marked out of 100 then the item marked out of 100 will count for as much as the other 10 - a student could get a 0% on the first 10 items and 100% on the 11th and still be awarded half of the weighting of that category.

The solution is to ensure that the categories in the Gradebook are mathematical categories which are not always the same as the logical ones the instructor may have in the Syllabus.

[edit] Deleting gradebook items prevents future access to those grades

When an instructor chooses to delete an entire Gradebook item the instructor is prompted to confirm the deletion. This is the last opportunity to retain these grades. Unless the Gradebook contents have previously been exported, after an instructor has chosen to delete a Gradebook item the grades contained within that item can no longer be accessed by anyone.

[edit] Releasing letter grades do not match Brock University (Canadian) letter grades

Isaak/Sakai course sites created before 2011 will not automatically have Brock University's grading scale under Course Grade Options.

Sometimes this can be corrected by selecting in the Grade Type selection box Brock University Letter Grades and then pressing Change grade type.

[edit] Additional Resources

Privacy Concern: Be Careful

This tool is designed to protect the privacy of student information. Instructors should take care that they are entering information in the correct location and are disclosing information accurately.

Please consider the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and Brock University's own privacy policies. You can learn more at

More articles can be found in the Category:Gradebook

Other articles about Isaak/Sakai's tools and how instructors can use them:

Core Tools:   Image:Flag blue.png Announcements | Image:Page edit.png Assignments | Image:Lessons-icon.png Lessons | Image:Comments.png Forums | Image:Report.png Gradebook | Image:Folder.png Resources | Image:Calendar.png Schedule | Image:Pencil.png Tests and Quizzes

More Tools:   Image:User comment.png Chat Room | Image:Folder page.png Drop Box | Image:House.png Home | Image:Comment.png Messages | Image:Chart bar.png Statistics | Image:Page world.png Web Content

Related articles:   How to add tools to your course | Using the Text Editor | Manage Groups | Permissions and roles | Contact the CPI for help

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