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Adam Schwartz

Interesting. Is the reason for the idiocy of the report only in that it is oversimplified or that there exists no model/presentation that would be helpful?

That is, if you had historical data about the course and found evidence that students who did poorly on quiz 1 were much more likely to do poorly in the course (in effect, correlation among not only future quizzes but also projects) then couldn't you present, say, "for students who scored 2/5 on the first quiz, here's the distribution of final grades." If 90% of those final grades is failing, is that a useful model? (Maybe the student should drop the class???)

Alternately, do you know from prior experience that quiz performance and project performance are completely uncorrelated? Admittedly, there's not a lot of data in a 5 question quiz, but so little that there's no cause for concern if you score a 1/5 vs. scoring a 5/5?

And, of course, if the class is 90% projects... why have the quizzes at all? Doing well or doing poorly on them doesn't seem like it'd have much bearing on the outcome either way. Does there exist a student who does just poorly enough on projects that gaining the 10% of the grade from quizzes (again, assuming it's plausible that a student who does poorly on the projects can somehow do well on quizzes or vice versa) makes a difference?


Adam one reason for having quizzes is that they test specific knowledge which may not be evident in projects. They may also provide important feedback before they start the projects.


I think you missed opportunity for the next lesson. I'd have sent an email saying the grade report is misleading asking them to think - Why might the grade report be bad?

then spend 5 minutes asking for their thoughts, give them arbitrary points for demonstrating thinking rather that requiring the right answers of course...


Adam Schwartz

@Ken, absolutely, I can understand how it'd be useful to the instructor to test specific knowledge to understand if the instructor needs to revise or recover the material, but that doesn't necessitate that the student receive a grade. If the feedback is informational for the instructor, why share it with the students in the form of a grade?

There certainly isn't enough impact from the quizzes on their actual course grade to matter much. I'd argue that either the grade is predictive at some level of future performance OR grading the quiz itself is sort of useless.


I have this issue in my classes all of the time. I have therefore suppressed the total column in our online system by setting an equation there =0. I think that students have used these online course systems for years - and therefore have never learned how to calculate their own grades.

I have my students create a grade calculator in excel as one of their homework assignments. They can then type in grades as they receive them and have a better understanding of what individual assignment grades mean.

So even though it is designed poorly -- I think the issue is not just that. It is a lack of understanding of some basic math skills.


A good example which is very inspiring.

However, I have a little question about this survey. You have written that, this course is the a new course and after the Quiz1 you found that the students are anxious. Is there a possibility, that maybe this kind of anxiety is only temporary, which will not influence the students' final scores?

One little naive opinion. :)


Jeffrey Shaffer

We don't use Canvas at the University of Cincinnati, but I've had this issue in Blackboard and resolved it. According to the documentation for Canvas, the total grade should not calculate for grades not yet completed.


See page 6-7. "Total" seems to be different from "Final". Is it possible it's the wrong column or a setting is wrong?

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